Well… take a break to really do something with her writing.
Albeit that wasn’t exactly why I was away. But I am humbled to see a few comments that sound so wonderful and really encouraging here on some posts and from people I haven’t come across yet. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by though the blog has been literally dead for months.
What has been happening with my life may not be particularly interesting to the bunch of you but it’s not that boring. I will give the headlines, just to justify my not-so-noted absence.
- I passed out college and is an intern doctor now, happy to have actually begun collecting failures and experiences (Both are inevitable and important in the development of a Homeopathic Phyician, the former more than the latter.)
- I got married. And yeah, that’s a huge change.
- Poetry has got blocked somewhere inside me and has been lost for months now.
- I terminated the book contract of my first book “The Torrent from My Soul”. The book is not in print anymore. It does sound like a bad writer but it’s a brilliant decision I made in my entire life. Because my poetry and I deserve better than that publisher’s money making agendas. Sorry, but carnivores do exist in all fields. That’s one of the things I did for the first time and the last – falling prey to anyone. (If anyone is interested in reading that first collection of mine, please let me know in comments or as a message, I would be happy to get you a digital copy of its revised edition as soon as possible.) 🙂
- After long, I have been reading – and yes, with better sense of what’s good and what’s not good enough (nothing is too bad, but we have to classify just to make sure we know the difference and utilize time instead of wasting it).
- And there – the last but not the worst or least important – I began the journey of truly editing Amidst Sandcastles – my novel. Which was finished many times. Edited many times and yet got rejected because of one single reason. Probably the most amateurish reason, because, mistakes could be corrected, style could be polished – all without losing the story and its essence – but length reduction? That’s a long story. Really.
I was afraid to lose it. Afraid to actually face it. But then I began looking at it with my new eyes that are less emotional and sensitive now, may be even less creative and more practical – that’s indeed less fanciful (I am pretty sure it has everything to do with the constitutional Homoeopathic treatment I took for a health problem and not being able to write even plain, let alone exceptional, poetry anymore.). It is quite undesired, but the reduced emotional turbulence is indeed a relief at times. And that’s pretty much why I was able to cross-read my novel and how its elephantine word count has been reduced by a good 50K – which is, well, not close to done yet.
But – here, this is for those aspiring writers out there – I am not established yet, but I think having done this does make me person enough to say this:
If you feel something is impossible, it is probably possible when you start to think instead of feel. It has undoubtedly helped me. But of course, leave thinking part to the end. Because your writing- story or whatever – needs you with all the feeling to get real. Just evade melodrama – it’s cheesy. And cheesy can get mouldy. 🙂
Few things I learnt while searching for editing tips and length-reduction ideas that I practised:
- There’s a lot you wrote that can happily go down the drain. No one expects you to give account of what your hero or heroine does every other second. No reader expects you to fill in every gap in their minds.
- Once you have done with your most precious darlings – which are probably the best parts you loved writing – examine how many times you have appeased yourself saying the same things over and over again. We tend to repeat things we love, naturally. I found many instances in my novel that was kinda written again and again to justify particular scenarios. Trust your readers’ memories – they will remember the strengths, weaknesses and motives of your characters. Make your characters unforgettable, that’s your job. You are their creator, not their defense lawyer.
- Think well over the number of POV’s in your story – it was a huge matter in my novel – obviously, the more the POV’s are, the longer the book gets. As long as a particular POV is not necessary to advance your story, maybe – just maybe – it’s time to create another junk folder. I am glad that this occurred to me because, since both the hero and heroine are important to me (of course, the relationship with your story and characters gets personal), I tend to write the same scene in both of their POV’s. That’s a huge chunk of repetition. Of course, there’re many other opportunities to reveal how one of them had felt at that time, while we describe from the other’s angle.
Well, it’s a tad bit unfair to write a LONG post on how to SHORTEN your writing. So I guess, I will get back to work. Being the intern doctor on night duty shift alone without company or patients can get boring (It was election-day today, so people haven’t been as sick as usual since morning. That makes me wonder if they get sick more often when they are sure the doctors are working?), but that’s where the joy of being a writer comes. Call me crazy, but I am never alone. 🙂
Take care everyone! And oh, by the way, let me share a small quote that will prove many a writer’s reasons right. I shared it on my FB page already but, I love it too much:
“Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.”
-Paul Theroux, novelist (b. 1941)
Reading now: Honour by Elif Shafak, a Turkish writer. Awesome one at that, if you love a daring book, which is not so commonplace.
What are you reading? 🙂