Snatching the first thing that comes to mind

I’m sure every writer writes in a different way. I always try my best to write as well as I can and take great care over my stories, writing, rewriting, editing, editing some more, rewriting, refining, reworking, going over and over what I’ve written, reading out loud, reading in different formats, screen, print, Kindle… and so on.

I try and make my stories engaging, engrossing, entertaining and as I’ve said, I try my best to make them the best they can be. Stories… I write stories, and for me it’s the plot and the characters, in settings which the reader can ‘see’ through the way I’ve described them,  with action and some surprises. I have tried to write in a literary way, and yes, I think I can do that, at least to my own satisfaction, but it’s not a way of writing I feel comfortable with – and it’s not really the sort of writing I would read by other writers.

I’ve mentioned before, several times, that I’m a ‘horsey and a ducky’ writer – it comes from a Peanuts cartoon when the characters are lying in the grass looking up at the sky and describing what they see in the clouds, magnificent and imaginative scenes played out against the blue; Charlie Brown says ‘I see a horsey and a ducky’.

The way I write reflects what I write, I think (unless it’s the other way round!) Just as some artists working in clay might have a great blob of the stuff, and work away at it until something emerges, or someone who works with wood might have a hunk of timber and dress it and re-dresses it until a form becomes apparent, so my story gradually evolves as I write – my process shapes the product (that does sound very pretentious!)

As I’ve mentioned, I overwrite, I put far too much in, and then hack away the excess, carve out chunks, smooth and mould characters, scenes and story-lines. When I’m writing, the words fly out and sometimes my brain snatches the first to hand.

An example of this is the adjective ‘little’. Last night I went through my story and changed or deleted nearly 250 ‘littles’ –

  • I had a little smile/I smiled
  • my little baby/my baby
  • the little child/the small child
  • a little time/some time
  • he looked a little annoyed/slightly annoyed
  • I added a little pepper/I added a pinch of pepper

… and so on. Why do I write like this? It might be careless, or unfocused, but for me it’s letting the story flow. If I stopped every sentence to decide whether someone should ask/demand or think/ponder/ /wonder/puzzle, then it would take me even longer to write my stories! Working as I do, when I check over these repetitions, it makes me think carefully within the context of that scene what I should write, what word I should choose; doing it like this, I don’t replace all my ‘ponders’ with muses, all my ‘weirds’ with stranges’ I have the time to consider what I’ve used or not used before.

Every writer is different, this works for me!

Here is a link to my books – I would be most grateful if you spot any repetitions or other errors if you let me know! I really appreciate helpful criticism!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+elsde%2Caps%2C155&crid=1MWLZA3C60H44&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alois+elsden

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