Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tinkering

Okay, I can no longer see the forest for the trees. I reworked those first 50 pages of A Cornish House so many times I don't know what I've left and what I have cut out. It no doubt makes no sense at all any more.

So I just want to sit and read the rest of the book without doing anything yet I can't. I can not read my own work without a pencil in hand and continuous reworking........what to do? Can you read your own work without tinkering with it?

12 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

You need to hear it read aloud. Text-to-speech, perhaps?

liz fenwick said...

You may be right but it fills me with dread!

Phillipa said...

I'm serial tinkerer... but I'm not a huge believer in 'read it aloud'. I write a huge variety of things, from articles to speeches and novels and novels aren't meant to be read aloud, IMHO. I'm more intersted in the flow of words from page to brain - is that smooth and mellifluous?

That's why I don't really enjoy reading aloud at events.

KAREN said...

It's very, very hard not to keep moving on, so I have to force myself not to do it!

That's a good point Phillipa made, but reading aloud for me seems to 'bring out' those obvious typos and clumsy sentences. I use a text-reader called "Audrey" from Natural Readers which is quite helpful despite the robotic voice!

Debs said...

I'm always changing my work and trying to improve it. I hate reading it aloud but it does sometimes help show me where I've gone wrong.

cs harris said...

There are times, such as reading for pacing, conflict, and balance, that it is absolutely essential that one NOT stop and tinker. At those times, I use Post Em notes to stick on pages where I think major changes are needed. Frequently I'll scribble a note, like "Declunk" (if I think the writing is awkward) or "Up conflict" at the beginning of a scene to let me know it needs work.

Ray-Anne said...

Someone clever said that writers should always be zooming in, then zooming out again to make the story work.
One scene at a time, or focus on one character, etc.
Then move out to look at the whole character arc across the entire book, or if the turning points are in the right place.
I have found that reworking the opening is often the LAST thing you do because you might want to beef up the crisis scene in the final quarter of the book, and then have to set up the start differently to make that work. Start from the end and work back as it were. Building the conflict so that she solves her external AND internal conflicts at the same time.
Different drafts, different edits, different purposes.
And I am rambling... time for a blog post..
It might be time to have a tidy office day.. :-)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Someone said to me just write it and edit it later. I have started doing that and find I get a lot more done! However, I always tend to tinker with the last few paragraphs before I start a new day. Good luck with yours, Liz.

CJ xx

Jessica Raymond said...

Never!

liz fenwick said...

I loved reading all the different ways everyone - tinkers with their work :-)

Bruno LoGreco said...

I write, rewrite and write again before its all said and done and I'm not a writer. I try to write as best as I can for what I do.

wordtryst said...

If I read my work 50 times I find something to tinker with each time. I'm obsessive: should I leave the comma here, or take it out? Hm.

I spend an enormous amount of time tinkering like this. Can't just read through. I do something similar to cs harris, but instead of Post It notes I highlight text I want to come back to with that lovely aquamarine fill. If I didn't do that I'd never get through a re-read.