Saturday, 25 August 2012

Writing Slow

Damn, writing is hard.

No, writing isn't hard, good writing is hard.  I can write fast.  I can burn through word counts and churn out pages.  Problem is, it's a bit shit.  I used lots of tired phrases, stuff I've picked up from hundreds of other books.  It's like driving on autopilot.  I barely notice the sign posts.

So I'm trying to write slow.  To go back and re-read what I've written and actually write something meaningful.  I might only write a paragraph or two, but at least I'm not bored by what I'm written.  I know it's the absolute best I can do with my present level of skill.

And I'm trying to push myself.  I'm trying to:


  • Write tighter
  • Weave subtle clues into my metaphors and adjectives
  • Slay the demon of unoriginality
The thing I find hardest is sex.  Or damn it, even kissing.  It's hard to be original and visceral and not to descend into purple prose when writing sex.  

Find 463 different ways to describe lips without saying lips


Having said that, writing a love scene with a woman who is freaking out that she might turn into a banshee at any second gives it its own kind of flavour.

What do you find hardest?


5 comments:

Mike said...

My suggestion would be to write fast and edit slow. That's what works for my process (I outline pretty extensively).

Maybe you have problems with the sexy stuff because you think of it as being different than everything else. It isn't, you know. ;)

Bullish said...

Yes, I agree with Mike! I write fast and edit slow. Vomit on the page and then come back in with the lysol and clean up the mess, keeping the few pretty chunks on the floor - and yes, there will be pretty chunks, or original ones, or ones that can be mutated into pretty and original.

As for sex on the page - I can't write it unless it means something to the character arc. If I go at it (pun intended) from a physical perspective, it comes out all 'fit Tab A into Slot B' and ewwww, who needs that kind of diagram in the middle of changing into a banshee?!

But, if taking a risk, or learning to trust, or making an emotional connection, etc, is a means of the character learning something about themselves - or even failing miserably, which is part of learning too - then the scene is much easier because instead of bumbling my way through with physical senses, I'm taking new territory with my emotional senses - the comfort of his bulky shoulder rather than the muscular swell of his well-developed arms, links the fear of her change to banshee to the possible comfort of his body.

Errr, or something like that!! I cannot, for the life of me, write sex without proper character motivation!!



Jess Baker said...

If I write fast it comes out a bit shitty as well, so you are not alone ;o) I'm better at thinking about my word choices at getting it closer first time. I also find I give my characters more time to develop and they are deeper for it. Just keep chugging onwards! Even just a little bit at a time will get you where you want to go eventually. ;o)

Meg McNulty said...

Excellent people! Lots to think about... Ruth and Mike, I think you're right about the sex scenes. I think I'm approaching it too objectively. Back to the drawing board!

Sophie Moss said...

I agree with Ruth. It's all about the emotion. Consider writing it in the POV of the person with the most to lose. What are his/her thoughts/assumptions/worries/fears before the love scene? What will his/her thoughts/assumptions/worries be after the love scene. Will this scene make it better for the relationship between your hero/heroine? Or worse? The love scene has to change things between them one way or another. Now drink some magic bean espresso and get back to it! I want to read your book!