Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Not As Bad As You Think (I bloody hope)

Amid the debris littering my desk (scraps of paper, half-drunk cups of coffee, pens so old and mashed they vomit red, blue and green and lie in the little lakes of their own making, war-torn Lego men courtesy of my son…and yes, I do believe that is a regurgitated fur-ball - eewwww) I am determined to find a prominent place for the notice ‘It’s not as bad as you think’.

Why? Because trust me, over-writing can suck the very life blood from your work, leaving it in much need of a laxative.
Try and remember your reader is reading your story for the first time.  Their eyes and minds will be fresh and eager rather than bleeding.  Chances are they won’t give a flying-f about the correct use of the Oxford comma, or occasional lapse in the sequence of MRUs, not if your story flies, not if your characters rip free from the page and not if you have succeeded in transporting them into a world they never want to leave.

If you have done a half decent job on your story (getting the GMC up front and central helps), they will not be bored stiff  to the point of applying leeches to their eyelids and throbbing temples. Chances are they will be too engrossed and therefore forgiving of little tics and errors.  (Best to avoid sloppy typos and spelling though, they’ll skin you for that or worse, abandon your book).
So, don’t hate your manuscript. Recall the verve that rushed through your veins as you punched out the first draft. Because that is what it means to write from the soul and that’s what will give your book its unique personality.  All over-writing ever achieves is frustration on your part as the writer, and a Mogadon-effect in the reader.
Hence my new mantra:  It’s not as bad as it looks…maybe?
Caveat: This mantra does not excuse crap writing! 
Second Caveat:  Those elipsey things (brackets) are all mine, and I'm on trend.  My own trend.


  1. Can I borrow your mantra... I'm 3/4 of the way through my next release and I've forgotten why I loved writing this story!
    Sandra Hyatt tweeted once that writing is a process where you take something that you love and write about it until you hate it (or words to that effect).
    Thanks for reminding me that I need to remember why I was passionate about this story in the first place :)

    1. Help yourself Toni, I've yet to own the copyright on anything. Hardest thing in the world is to love your writing when you are on the millionth read through. Keep the passion!

  2. Well, from what I've read of your writing so far, it isn't even remotely bad. It was great and I loved it :D

  3. Thanks Aurelia, and I have got to work out how I link your blogs to mine. x

  4. Damn good advice Incy. And punched out with verve as always.