Monday, 4 August 2014

Is a story/book ever really finished?

Hey future me.

It's been a while since I last wrote here, but that's okay, it tells me I that I am working hard on my now 2, that's right 2, MS's.  The first I hope will be finished within the next few weeks and the second is the first draft of my second book, which I also hope to have finished in the next month or two.

I have noticed massive difference's on how I have approached each of the stories/books I am writing, but today I am going to mainly focus on the first one.

In all honesty it is finished-ish.  I feel that it's about as good as I can make it without having had someone taking a huge chunk of their valuable time and reading it, and then spending more of their time telling me what they think.  What is good?  What is bad?  How can it be made better?  Etc.  Proof reader or Editor anyone?

(On a side note I have looked in to reading groups but as yet haven't been able to find one that doesn't involve a 2 hour car journey just to get there.  I'm toying with the idea of starting my own reading group, but I wouldn't know how to begin looking into something like that.  If anyone has any idea's please let me know).

Okay, first thing first, repeated words of phrases. 

I am at the moment re-reading and re-editing my first MS, for what feels like the 1001 time and I have noticed that there are certain words and/or phrases that keep cropping up.  Examples of these would be the following :-

But before ...
Without warning ...
Realising that... (I seem to use the word 'realise' and it's many variants a lot)

(Please feel free to leave your own examples of words and phrases that you find you use a lot, it will probably help me loads.  Cheeky of me to ask I know).

Every time I see one of these, it's feels like a slap in the face.  I have written 7 different versions of my first story/book and it has only just become apparent that these 'slaps' exist.  Now I can take the positive route and tell myself that as a wannabe-writer I must be growing on some level as I am now aware of them, because in the previous 6 versions it never even registered.  OR I can give myself a bollocking for not noticing them in the first place, call it a rookie mistake if you will. 

If I'm honest, it's a bit of both, I am relieved that I have noticed them and am frantically working through my story/book deleting and changing almost everyone I find.  (Some of them I have learnt are necessary). 

However I am pissed at myself for allowing them to get in there in the first place.  When I started this writing malarkey it was more as a release for me.  Somewhere to go when I needed some piece.  It was either write words down and hope they made some sense or drink, heavily.  LOL.  I wonder how many other writers started like that?

I never really expected to finish, and yet here I am with what is essentially a story/book.  I 'realise' (SLAP!  I'm starting to hate that word), that in the eyes of others and of those that know better, that 400 printed pages does not necessarily constitute a 'Book'.  Surely though, any writer, published or otherwise, must have started out like this?  At some point they were sat at their writing spot, staring at a pile of paper that they had just printed that contained words which they had typed.  I remember the first time I did, it felt pretty good, even if what I had written might've been shit.  But then I realised that the warm glow you get from printing your first efforts only lasts so long. 

Oooh, I've just thought of a joke. 

How long does it take for a writer (wannabe or otherwise) to lose the satisfaction they feel after completing a story/book for the first time? 

Answer : Approximately the time it takes the writer to print it, until they/we actually sit down and read it.

Okay, it's not that funny, but I suspect there is a lot of truth in there.  I think the question I'm trying to ask is this.

Is a story/book ever really finished? 

I could probably spend years re-writing and editing my efforts but I will always see mistakes, parts of the story that niggle away at me where I know it could be written/told better.  At what point do you walk away happy that you have done your best, without the feeling that it still isn't quite good enough?  I will offer the prize of a free virtual hug or a metaphorical high five to anyone who can come up with an answer to that particular conundrum.

Anyway, that's it for today.  Time to get back to it.  I have decided, against a lot of people's better judgement I have started to notice, to try the traditional publishing route.  Will something come of it?  I don't know, but it doesn't mean I should stop now.  Hell, someone has to win the lottery, why can't it be me this time.  Wish me luck, I suspect I'm going to need it.

Look after yourselves people, but above all stay cool.

Pip   x