Riding that wave of learning.

That's better. I was feeling a little agoraphobic for a moment.

That’s better. I was feeling a little agoraphobic for a moment.

Still working on Smoke & Mirrors. I’ve given it another read through this week after the wake-up call, which has led to me striking nearly 4000 words from it. I’m very happy about that. It’s now down to 90,000 words. There are some weeks where I feel that I’ve really learned something about the craft of writing. This has been one of them.

And that's just the title page.

And that’s just the title page.

I’ve learnt that I don’t like adverbs and I should use them sparingly. I’ve learnt that the use of clichés should be a birching offence. (I think that to include them occasionally in dialogue is acceptable. People do use them in speech.) I’ve learnt that there isn’t anything much more distracting and irritating for me in a story than a cringe-worthy home-made simile. (Good ones are worth their weight in unicorn semen. But use sparingly.) I’ve learned to stop saying something and then saying it again differently. I’ve learned not to be so verbose. I’ve learnt not to tell so much. I’ve learnt that Hemingway was right when he said writing is rewriting. I’ve learnt that Elmore Leonard was right when he said if the author’s voice comes through get rid of it.

I’m not saying that my stories from now on will be free from all the above but I’ve learnt to recognise them better and the need to weed them out/do something about it when I do. I believe that is an important step towards becoming a better writer. (For those thinking: about time, Rome wasn’t built in a…oh crap – is that a cliche?)

I’ve enjoyed myself on this. I didn’t relish the prospect of taking the knife to the text again but as I was going along I found the removal of every word and phrase something satisfying.

The most important thing is that I am much happier about the book. I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating (some things are): my aim with every book I bring out is that each addition should contribute to the series. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, ever. And I don’t want to let myself or my characters down. That brings a certain pressure to bear. But then no one said being an attention seeking vanity publisher was going to without its challenges.

I am determined to have Acer #3 out before Christmas.

Smoke and Mirrors 0602 (Medium)

6 thoughts on “Riding that wave of learning.

  1. Please, please let it be out for Christmas.This maybe the only way I make it through this holiday season ! It will be a perfect way to escape from the usual family dramas….

    • Emma
      I’m sure I can manage it. One of the advantages of living in a Muslim country is I’m spared Christmas. Scrooge is something of a role model for me. Good luck with yours and may all the dramas be on the box.
      Best wishes.

  2. Morning Oliver,
    I’ve always gone by the motto, ‘Show not tell’ and it usually works. I also say if it isn’t pertinent to the story then get rid of it. After suffering a bad virus for the past few weeks I have managed to get my 4th book ready for Xmas with a lot of editing and re-editing. As for those adverbs, I rarely use them: to me, they seem old fashioned and more suitable for children’s literature. Will keep my eye open for your latest.
    Have a good Xmas.

    • Hi Pat
      Yes, these are things I knew about writing but I just hadn’t seen the wood for the trees in some passages.
      I hope you’re feeling better. Just been laid up with a 24hr bug. My first day off school since I’ve been here.
      Congratulations on getting another book ready. I sincerely hope it well.
      I read a lot of Thomas the Tank books (to my son) and the widespread use of adverbs makes me wince. Overuse in adult books tend to turn me off.
      Have a great Christmas. You’re welcome to it. 🙂
      Best wishes.

  3. Please have it out before Christmas…I have had to take up knitting to while away the time….
    .Have a happy Christmas and a successful 2015! Maybe you will crack the big money in 2015…perhaps someone will have the foresight to make a series of the R&M on television!…another Broadchurch maybe…here’s hoping 🙂

    • I’m focussing all my energy on it despite being at death’s door with a bout of Turkey Tummy. (Cue violins.)
      Thanks for the seasonal wishes. Same to you.
      I hope Acer doesn’t disappoint after all this time. And ıf anyone ever wants to televise any of my books I’ll wear a matching knitted hat and scarf for the interview if you can knock me them up.
      Keep an eye on the blog for news of Acer 3. 🙂
      Best wishes.

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