Starting Over…

April 7, 2011 in Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study by pacejmiller

I had another extremely productive meeting with my supervisor last night, but in a nutshell — I probably need to start over with my novel.  If I was impressed last time, I was even more impressed this time.  Immediately, my supervisor pointed out that what I had written was not what I had planned to write.

In fact, it was the opposite of what I wanted to write.  My supervisor was 100% right.  After I had completed the first chapter, I looked at it and thought, this is not a bad story, but not particularly good either.  However, there was something that didn’t feel right. I didn’t realise it until it was pointed out to me, but I had written exactly what I said I didn’t want to do.  I said I didn’t want to write a coming of age story but what I had written was an intro to a coming of age story!  The thing is, my supervisor said if I wanted to change it into a coming of age story, this would have been an excellent start.  But I don’t care.  I’d rather write a crap version of what I intended as opposed to a great version of what I didn’t.

Another thing that was pointed out was that I seemed to suffer from an inability to separate my scenes.  I was writing it as a running narrative — this happened and then that happened and I saw this and I thought that.  There was never a break in the action.

A third problem was my descriptions.  As my supervisor pointed out, when you manage to come up with some brilliant descriptions, descriptions that capture the essence of a person or thing perfectly, your less impressive, more generic descriptions get exposed and become huge eye sores.  That’s three of three.  Hit the nail on the head every time!

If I might come across as a little down after that, I’m not.  I’m annoyed that I’ll have to spend a lot of time and effort, but I’m glad I didn’t write more before discovering that I was on the wrong track.  As my supervisor said, sometimes you have to write what you don’t want before you can figure out what you do want.

That said, it’s always easier said than done.  There’s no guarantee that the next time I sit down to write I’ll get what I want.  So what do I do?  My supervisor suggests that I just try.  If it’s not there, try a different approach, a different angle.  Eventually I’ll get it right.  Read more of the type of writing and voice I want to achieve.  It might turn out that what I end up writing is better than what I intended to write.