Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dilemmas

I'm still wading through that quicksand, trying to fix plot holes in the book. It seems that whenever I fix one I open up three more - not exactly the type of progress I was looking for.

But there's another dilemma I'm facing as well - trying to find my (insert dramatic music) 'Writer's Voice'.

Because of the nature of my work, I'm able to spend large blocks of time during the day reading blogs written by authors, publishers and agents. I've noticed this whole idea of 'voice' coming up again and again. An agent will say that what sold them on a manuscript was not its technical correctness, its originality or even style - what sold them was the author's 'voice'. When I read the examples given I can see exactly what they mean, though it would be next to impossible to define what constitues a voice and what doesn't (a bit like trying to explain what 'red' is - you can't, except by pointing to examples of it).

Trouble is, I think it's difficult for an author to hear their own writing voice - not until they've been detached from their work for long enough to build up a distance. With the amount of trouble I've had rewriting the first chapter of Ghost, I now have this distance from the other fifteen chapters, because it's been so long since I looked at them.

And I'm not quite sure I like what I see.....

The writing is technically good, it flows well, descriptions are vivid but don't draw attention to themselves. Problem is, I'm not sure I like the voice.

This last year I've been battling with the book, fixing bits, rewriting other sections, re-reading and re-working and trying to get it right. In the process I think I've grown enormously as a writer, and I think I've taken great leaps towards finding my own unique style. The down side of that is as I look at the work I've spent so long doing I feel as though I'm now in a situation where I can do it a lot better.

So - this is my new dilemma. Do I completely rewrite Ghost, do I completely abandon Ghost and move onto something else, or do I try and fix the plot difficulties with Ghost and accept that perhaps the style and feel of it isn't what it would be if I were to write it from scratch now?

My gut feeling is the latter option. If I can get the book to the point where the plot is a lot tighter, and if I can fix some of the other minor things the assessor identified, I should have something that is at least worthy of querying to agents. Even if it goes nowhere, the whole rigormorole of writing a synopsis and a query letter will be really valuable experience.

Problem is, fixing these plot holes is not easy, and if I'm not 100% committed to it that quicksand just gets even deeper and wider.

5 comments:

  1. Should the plot be watertight ? Life does not have neat and tidy endings - so why should a book ? - If you can manage to suggest possible alternatives, it leaves room for another in the "Series" ??
    cheers
    mog

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  2. Hi Mog - I agree that a plot shouldn't be totally watertight, but the main character's motivations should be clear and convincing, and that's the sort of plot hole I'm working with. Thanks for your comment! Peter.

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  3. Ah So !
    motivation ! follow :-
    a. the money
    b. the girl
    c. mixture of both
    cheers
    mog

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  4. Hey Peter,

    Good to read your blog. How about joining the WordCloud. Great online community for writers like us, if a little distracting, when you allow it to be!
    http://www.thewordcloud.org/welcome.html

    Barry

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  5. Hi Barry - I'll check it out, thanks for posting! I'm thinking about signing up for something like that, but a friend steered me towards OWW (although I don't think that's free :-() so I'm possibly going to head in that direction - yet another decision to make!

    ReplyDelete