Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where I Am...Plot Holes and Travel Plans

Literally - I am sitting at the table watching the morning sun. I am in a happy place here thinking about PENDEROWN and also a thousand other things.

First just to say all my photos of the Summer Party are up over at the RNA Blog. I am tempted to put up a few out takes here but that might not be fair.... It was a wonderful party as always but down on numbers due to two other parties in the publishing world that evening. This was actually good because I did have the chance for a few proper catch ups and hello how good to finally meet you in person chats. Everyone is eagerly anticipating this year's conference which now doesn't seem too far away.

So on the flight I read through the synopsis for PENDEROWN - it is an awful one, but it is workable and as it is, at this point for my eyes only, that is okay. I hated doing every minute of it but boy can I see how it will help. As I wrote it out in long hand (yes, doing much more of that lately) I could see plot holes as I worked through the story. These holes were visible to me in the synopsis but interestingly not as I read the script. What does this tell me? One I am a crap reader of my own work (might be true)? Or I had pulled off something else in the script that hid the plot holes? I think it's the later and I think this is really important for those of us who haven't cracked the publication bit yet.

Why? Here I am going to call upon the rejections I have received and the work I recently did on the synopsis for A CORNISH HOUSE. Each rejection bar the computer generated one for the M&B has mentioned how well I write - early on I thought so what's the problem then? As my rejection letters or emails or chats became longer and more of open conversations I wondered what was up...these people were still willing to talk to me and see my work, the comments were almost all praise so what the hell am I doing wrong. When you get theses snipets of feedback and encouragement you flounder - I don't mean it isn't wonderful but no one tells you how to understand what the comments mean let alone how to fix or improve. I am finding now several books and innumerable rewrites down the line I keep having these moments that is what so so meant when she said this...

It may well just be that I'm thick or could be just that I have to learn each skill one at a time. So when I read Penderown after such a long break I saw problems from useless scenes, repetition, etc but I was also carried away with the story (good). The characterization except for Demi worked. Because of all that is not crap in my writing the plot holes were hidden which the synopsis made very apparent. Having done a synopsis after draft one - painful though it was hopefully will have saved me a rewrite or two. I now also understand some of the comments in said rejections - boy were they right and their practised eyes saw so much while they acknowledged the good. They could immediately picked up the problems which until now I couldn't see and to be honest there are probably more things yet that I don't see....

So I have work to do before I begin writing again however when on the plane the other day I did write and again in long hand (because I was too lazy to get the netbook out). As i began I thought I was writing the the penultimate scene - emotional and final. I wrote as fast as my pen would take me and eight packed pages later I looked up and smiled. Job done except for polishing and connecting.

Wrong. I was doing my blog check and stumbled over to Julie Cohen's blog and then today here. The scene I wrote needs to come much sooner. It will make things worse and hopefully the ending better and stronger - well at least I hope so.

So now I am going to take my research list which i made up during the read through and begin that - I am itching to begin the rewrite but I think it's best if i fill in the holes now and who knows what other twists may come out of the research.

BEAR UPDATE: They are having cinnamon rolls for breakfast

Today DD and I are off to the Victoria and Albert to see the Grace Kelly exhibition. Confession - when young she was the person I wanted and tried to look like most. I failed miserable but hopefully was just that little bit more elegant than I might have been otherwise...

TRAVEL UPDATE: It looked like BA's Cabin crew strike had scuppered my plans to go to my uni reunion but plans are under way to get there by other means (and no not swimming the Atlantic or rowing either!)


JJ Beattie said...

Mmmm, I wonder whether that's what I've got to do... write a synopsis. When I look at the whole thing I can see that it's not structurally correct yet but I can't see the wood for the trees either.

Thanks Liz, you might just have hit the nail on the head there.

Chris Stovell said...

Hello Liz, it was wonderful to meet you at last - looking very chic and lovely too (so the Grace Kelly lessons paid off handsomely). It sounds as if you've been doing some real soul searching on the writing front; those moments of clarity about what to do and where to go next are a real gift. Good luck with your scripts. Cx

DJ Kirkby said...

Goodness you're busy! I hate having to write a synopis too!

Debs said...

I always find writing the synopsis helps, but they're difficult things to actually do. I hate them.

Glad to hear the strike/ash isn't stopping you from finding a way to your reunion.

cs harris said...

Some years ago, an unpublished writer friend of mine reacted very angrily to a critique I gave her on her WIP (the last time I ever agreed to read anyone's manuscript, BTW!) About three years later she came to me and said, "Remember when you told me XYZ about my manuscript? I now understand what you meant. Thank you and sorry."

The point of all this is that I've come to realize that there are certain lessons we need to be at the right stage to learn. If the insight is given too early, we simply don't "get it." One of my husband's favorite sayings is, "When the student is ready a teacher will appear." If people are taking the time to talk to you, it's because they see promise there.

My youngest is set to fly home from London on BA on Friday, strike and ash permitting. Fingers crossed.

liz fenwick said...

JJ - despite the pain and AGONY (think Bugs Bunny here) of writing it - it has helped me to see the plot of the book and surprise surprise it has one but one that needs work. Good luck with yours.

Thanks Chris on both fronts :-)

DJ the hate of writing synopsis isn't quite universal but....

Debs - in the end i conceded defeat because i can't afford not to get back in time for the kids half term so I'm not going :-(

CS - that is so true and it's why i keep going back over the feedback I've had because each time I see and understand different things. Your husband is right.

I hope your daughter had a wonderful time in London and it looks like she'll be fine :-)


prashant said...

Thanks Liz, you might just have hit the nail on the head there.
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