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Starting Over… April 7, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study.
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3 comments

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.

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Anything to avoid writing February 16, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, NBA, Novel, On Writing.
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1 comment so far

Only recently have I come to appreciate just how hard it is to be a ‘writer’.

Sure, it’s fun to ramble on and write on this blog with no regard for what is ‘good writing’, but when it comes to the serious stuff (such as my dorment novels or proper articles), I have a real talent for avoiding it.  Make no mistake — I want to write.  That’s why I quit my old profession and began this path.  I have absolutely no doubt about that.  But somehow, I just keep finding new ways to stop myself from getting down to business (as I like to call it).

Perhaps it’s the fear of failure.  Or maybe it’s the fear of getting started (after all, it is extremely daunting).  Or maybe I’m just a lazy bum.

Lately I’ve been coming up with all sorts of excuses for not working on my ‘serious’ writing.  It’s the holidays.  My folks are in town.  I have video games I haven’t played yet.  I need to finish reading books X, Y and Z.  There are movies I need to see, preferably before the Oscars.  I should watch more live basketball on NBA League Pass.  I should learn about the stock market.  The foreign exchange market.  Enter competitions.  The house needs new furniture (which is true).  I should write a blog post about not writing.

One of my many New Year’s resolutions was to read (books) and write (books) an hour a day.  Two-plus months in, and still nothing.  I have been reading more than an hour a day the last few days, but only because it’s Anne Frank’s diary and it’s bloody brilliant.  But writing?  No. Not as such.  Almost makes me wish I could be locked away somewhere like Anne where it’s so boring that there’s nothing to do but write.

Over this break, I’ve sunk to a new low — exercise (the only thing worse is cleaning up the house).  I tell myself it’s to keep fit, but it’s really just another excuse.  And as a result, I’ve been exercising a lot.  More than I ever did than when I had (or could afford) a gym membership.  Maybe it will get me physically prepared for all the gruelling writing sessions ahead…

An Update: On Writing and Other Things in Life February 19, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, Book Reviews, Entertainment, Movie Reviews, Novel, On Writing, Uncategorized.
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2 comments

It’s scary how time flies.  My posts have been somewhat sporadic as of late, and are mostly concerned with basketball and movies – but there are good reasons for this.  I’ve still been writing, but I feel like I’m not writing the way I know I can and at the pace I should – is this what writer’s block feels like?

Anyway, here’s a quick update of sorts on what has been happening.

Study

I got a bit of a shock the other day when someone reminded me that I was already halfway through my 9-month masters course, which means the exams are practically just around the corner.  I’ve been studying hard, but the astronomical amount of work means I’m perpetually behind.  Keeping up has been near impossible, let alone catching up.  But I’m confident things will work themselves out.  We have another long break coming up in less than a month and most of the final term is for revision.  So fingers crossed.

It’s just that I have to devote even more time to study, which obviously means the closer it gets to exam time, the less time for other things, such as writing and posting!

Movies/Oscars

Some may recall one of the goals I set ages ago was to watch all the big nominated films for the Golden Globes (back when they were on) and the Oscars (before they happen on the 22nd) and post short reviews for all of them.  Well, I’m pretty close to accomplishing that goal.  Part III of my film reviews should be out in the next few days, as soon as I finish watching Rachel Getting Married.

I also made some Oscar predictions a while back, but given the passage of time and the fact that I’ve seen a lot of the nominated now, I also want to do another post on who should win and who will.  That’ll have to be done before Oscar night.

Reading

After an influx of emails attaching articles about it from a friend, I decided to buy John Grisham’s new novel “The Associate”.  It’s about a young associate in a big law firm and all the perks and horrors that come with it – something I can relate to.  I can’t believe I haven’t done any book reviews yet since I started this blog, but it’s probably because I haven’t finished any books!  Well, I’m more than halfway through this book and I will be posting a review of it as soon as I finish.

Posts

As I said, my posts have been a bit all over the place, and the frequency has dropped from my early fanatical pace.  Part of it is because I’m getting more steady traffic and I don’t feel as though I need to pad up the content anymore.  But the main reason is because of all the other things I’ve mentioned in this post!

Just looking at my past posts, most of them have been about basketball!  Well, you can hardly blame me, considering it was All-Star Weekend.  Now that’s over, I’m going to shift the focus back onto my writings and the upcoming Oscars and readings.  Okay, maybe except any big news regarding the Pacers (especially with the trade deadline being today).

Indiana Pacers

Well, I’m sure All-Star Weekend was a blast for first timer Danny Granger.  But it’s back to business now for the Pacers.  There was all this talk and hype again about them finally making a run for the playoffs, winning six or even games straight (when they haven’t been able to win more than 2 in a row all season).  Well, they just lost to the Charlotte Bobcats after beating the Philadelphia 76ers, so the same old story continues.  Except that apart from Mike Dunleavy Jr’s continued absence, Danny Granger sprained his foot last game – which means even that tiny glimmer of playoff hope could be gone too (have to wait for the MRI).

The main concern is still getting rid of Jamaal Tinsley.  I believe today is the trade deadline.  No one seems to be knocking on the Pacers’ door asking about him.  Again, no one to blame but themselves.  At this rate, actually playing him might be a better idea – but after banning him all season, it’s too late to do that now.

Writing

Last, but not least, the writing.  It’s been a tough week for my fantasy novel.  I’m still writing (almost) everyday, but because of the aforementioned things, I feel as though I’m not getting anywhere.  I’m getting about 400-1,500 words a day these days, but I plan on pushing that up if possible.  Bear in mind this has been busy week – Valentines Day on Saturday, and we went down to London on Sunday (going again tomorrow) – it’s hard to get anything done on these types of days.  Plus it also means I need to spend the remaining free time focusing on studies, leading to even less time for writing.  The constant reading and note-taking are bogging my mind down so much that when I finally sit down to write, I feel nothing good comes out.

Not doing an updated wordcount yet until I feel better about how I’m progressing….grrrr…..

In any case, I’m really starting to develop a deep respect for writers, especially those who manage to pump out novels even when working in full-time jobs.  It involves so much dedication and commitment that it blows my mind just thinking about it.  Here I am, merely studying, and I’m struggling to get the first draft done.  There are so many temptations, so many other activities calling out to you – the excuses to tear yourself away writing are endless.  I can’t imagine doing anything apart from rest when I get home from work after a long day.  And yet, these incredible writers persevere in pursuit of their dreams.  I need to be more like them.  Even those writers that are huge successes continue to dedicate themselves to their craft and write more amazing novels, despite not having to worry financially anymore.

Okay.  Stop being so pessimistic.  Get back to work.

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