Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Beating Books Into Submission

I'm going through one of those phases where I eat, sleep, and dream my book. Over the past few weeks, I've been busy beating the plot and character development into submission, and praise the Goddess of Wine, there's finally light at the end of the tunnel.

I read somewhere recently that writing is like the process of distillation, and it's certainly true for me. No matter how clear I think I am in the beginning, I need to write . . . and write . . . and write again until things become clearer and everything crystallises. I can't even tell you how many times I've written some scenes, trying to get everything to hang together just so.

I tell you, if anyone ever says this writing lark is easy, they'd better get out of the way of my boxing gloves!

What irksome things make you want to don your virtual boxing gloves, writing or otherwise? Not that I condone violence, of course... :)

49 comments:

  1. 'I read somewhere recently that writing is like the process of distillation, and it's certainly true for me.'

    I like this very much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been sitting on the same story for the last month. It's been 3/4 done, but something wasn't right. Couldn't figure it out so I thought I'd let it sit for awhile. Still couldn't figure it out. I went back in yesterday just to take another look, and it finally punched me in the face! It took a TKO to make me see where the problems lay/lie. So I get the boxing metaphor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just generally people being rude ie. can't hold the door as they swing through it, can't say thank you if you hold the door, cashiers that have a private conversation, loudly, across till points while serving, that type of thing. I think I'm turning into the Polite Police!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can so relate to this post right now...book two which I have revisited 26 times before this time is finally beginning to come back together...

    lx

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have some scenes that have been written more times then I can count. Glad you're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Writing is a process of distillation...hmm. Going to be thinking on this all day. I've viewed editing this way, but I like turning writing over in this light. My post might give you a laugh today. I go through the 8 stages of novel writing (fabricated of course, but hopefully relatable).

    ~ Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post, Talli. I can definitely relate to it, especially at the moment when, having completely lost the flow of my wip over the past few weeks, I'm now threading all those scenes together again, re-connecting, so to speak. As for whipping out my virtual boxing gloves. *Thwack 1* would be for those people who've never read/plotted/written or even attempted to write/edited or published a book, barking at me what I "should" be doing and insisting they'd "bash out a book in a month if it were them..." Armchair authorities, I think they call 'em. Or something like that - lol. *Thwack 2* would be for anyone bad-mannered. *Thwack 3* for snobby people. Treat those how you'd wish to be treated yourselves, is my philosophy. Ooh, I'd better stop there or my gloves might fall apart. I'm not really a violent person. Grrrr... Honest! Wine, anyone? x x ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. When I run out of chocolate?
    :-)

    But seriously!! You beat those naysayers!! Yay for you!

    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've not only lost the flow, I'm not writing at all, so I definitely relate to this only I'm jealous. Going to take myself on vacation, though, and let nature do her magic.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  10. I take out my boxing gloves when someone dares to say to my face that "anyone can write a novel."

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hate it when you have the perfect story in your had but it won't translate onto the page. It must e a relief when everything comes together and you can see it working out on the page.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Before publication I used to hate the waiting game - waiting for agents or publishers to reply, while I imagined my precious words sitting bereft on the slush pile. Poor things!

    Now I hate it when reviewers say Sure! Send me a copy! which you do in good faith, only to have them not deliver. Really irritates. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think it's a good job I don't write novels because it would never get finished. Writing poetry has it's advantgages as I write about everyday things and events.

    Enjoyed your post Talli.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When I used to moan about my previous job one colleague who knew I wrote used to always say, "Well finish that book then and you won't have to work here any more." Two myths, one that you only have to finish a book to then be published and the other that being published gives the writer untold wealth.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's so true. I can have a great idea, outline, and clear characters, but it isn't until I write that first draft, let it sit and go back that the real magic starts to happen. Glad there's a light at the end of the tunnel for your WIP.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Writing certainly has it's frustrating side! I sometimes want to throw my PC and everything that goes with it out of the window! But then there are the beautiful days when it all goes so well...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sometimes I know what NEEDS to happen but it takes me awhile to find that perfect (natural-but-not-obviously-convenient) plot device to get me there. It can seriously make me want to pull my hair out when it doesn't come right away or when I head in the wrong direction, get a better idea, and have to go back and rewrite.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I actually rather like those moments when the book seems to take on a life of its own in the writer!

    As to irksome things that would make me put on the boxing gloves, a visit from an idiot ex-brother-in-law would be more then motivating!

    ReplyDelete
  19. And this is why you're awesome, because you do the hard work and fight for it and then it turns out awesome :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh, that's what I need to hear just now as I desperately try to get to the end of my current WIP - and finding too many distractions. So thanks for that flas of encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I always start to feel this way when my characters invade my dreams.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I imagine writing to be something like giving childbirth: agony followed by ecstacy.Of course, I've never given childbirth, so take it for what it's worth.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love when I'm fully absorbed in my book, even if I feel like I'm battling it at the same time. And yay for the light at the end of the tunnel! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  24. The first draft is always the hardest for me, probably because I'm a perfectionist and I want it just right even though I know I'll edit until my eyes bleed later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you, Talli and your boxing gloves.
      I must pray to the Goddess of Wine myself, she sounds great.
      I am rewriting my screenplay at the moment. After a while, I have to be careful, as I get fond of highlighting and deleting, soon I'll be left with just my name on top of page 1:)
      (apologies for using your reply box to post a comment, it seems to be the only way I can comment on some blogs)

      Delete
  25. The process of distillation thing is SO true. I went back to the beginning of my novel in progress today, and I can see how much needs changing now I've got to know my characters better. I must leave it alone for now though, or I'll never get it finished!

    ReplyDelete
  26. It's easy---ducks---just kidding. I was just curious if you threw a right cross or a hook (those are boxing terms, right?)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Like a fine wine that must be aged...
    And I'd like to punch anyone who thinks playing the guitar is easy!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Totally not related to writing, but I'm trying to lose weight with a co-worker of mine. She's lost ~25 lbs in 3 months. I've lost 4. I want to pull out the boxing gloves on my own metabolism for it is working FAR to slowly for my liking!

    ReplyDelete
  29. When I write the first paragraph of a story about ninety times because I have to have it start exactly right for the flow to work. It annoys the hell outta me.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I like to get out the boxing gloves when one of my daughters dates does something stupid. ;)

    By the way, you keep writing and writing - a new book every year (or more). I am so proud of you. Way to go, Talli!

    ReplyDelete
  31. One of the greatest challenges of writing, I think, is trying to show readers through words what you see in your mind's eye. I can sit for hours trying to think of the right way to write out a scene and never feel satisfied. But then, if I did that I would never get anything finished! You can do it, Talli!

    ~Wendy Lu

    The Red Angel Blog

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is NOT an easy job! It takes such work to get to each next step. At least we have the joy that goes along with it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. You've summed it up so well, lol. I do agree!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yay! I'm glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! :)
    I'd use my virtual boxing gloves on myself... for being such a procrastinator!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I get tired of all the 'must nots' - get rid of pesky adjectives and adverbs, show don't tell, keep backstory til later etc etc. Yet most best sellers I read laugh at all those rules and still sell millions of books. Clever them. I think the priority is the story and as you say, writing it is tres difficile!

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  36. As far as writing goes, I think I need to use those gloves on myself!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm so glad you feel like you're getting there with this book!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I also seem to need a good tussle to tease out all the threads of my plot. It's so discouraging when the puzzle pieces seem to be all the wrong shapes, but so satisfying when it all comes together.

    Fight the good fight!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I love it when I'm working on my book so much that I dream about it. Happened last week when I was doing a lot of editing. Those are the times when I love writing and remember why I do it. Glad your latest book is coming together Talli. Re boxing gloves, of course I never feel like that at all...car parks spring to mind after a run in this morning with someone who wanted my space but wouldn't reverse so I could get my car out of it...!

    ReplyDelete
  40. You always find the best pictures for your posts -- this one really cracked me up.
    And I love the way you write about writing Talli.
    Have you ever read this article? It's a bit long but I really love it, even though I am not a writer (I guess it applies to all forms of creation):
    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2848&Itemid=0

    ReplyDelete
  41. For me, the boxing gloves go on (mentally, at least) whenever I get asked when I'm going to "write a book for grownups" (as I write YA). Just… grr.

    Great post, Talli!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Good one Talli. A one-two punch to the paragraph. That's why I have so much trouble writing. I don't have the jab.

    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

    ReplyDelete
  43. There's nothing like the feeling of being possessed by your book. It's wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Writing obstacles or snarls can make me grouchy! I'm glad you're donning those gloves and beating that ms into submission. :D

    ReplyDelete
  45. Wine and boxing gloves... what a combo! *Grins*

    As for irksome things, I'd say any type of condescension in the writing/reading world. Bleh!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'd say book censorship makes me want to don my boxing gloves! The diversity of literature is what's beautiful about it, and I hate when someone tries to ban a book because they don't agree with it.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I love your idea about virtual boxing gloves! I'll have to remember this when I see the huge piles of laundry that my son is bringing home from college this weekend! All of your hard work is paying off, though I know it must be frustrating. Julie

    ReplyDelete
  48. I know it gets frustrating for you but your determination is what makes your novels such enjoyable and flawless reads.

    ReplyDelete

Coffee and wine for all!