That is just what it feels like today. Coming up for air...
Rising to the surface for a lungful of glorious, fresh air after long hours at the keyboard editing.
Don’t get me wrong – I like editing. I respect the journey to making a manuscript better and have written often on this blog about the process. But I do also find editing all-consuming and sometimes infuriating so that I always feel this huge sense of relief when I finally email the draft to my agent or editor to read.
I sent my edit off yesterday so today is the day for bursting to the surface of the water. To breathe in deeply. To sigh.
Also to COOK....
No coincidence that my debut novel is called Recipes for Melissa. So today I printed off one of the recipes from the script for my lunch. A steaming bowl of soup which I took out into the garden to eat because, despite the cold, I really needed that fresh air. The sense of the outdoors. The sense that, for now at least, I am on a very temporary break from the writing.
I say that on the strict understanding that blogging doesn’t count, of course. Blogging is just chatting with you lovely people. Soup. Fresh air. Little bit of a natter. What could possibly be nicer than that?
I am knee deep in “editland” – getting my MS ready for publication so apologies that the blog has taken a back seat. I genuinely regret this as it has always given me a buzz, sharing tips along the way – this incredible road that I like to call “long and winding…with speed bumps!”
So I’ve decided while I’m short of time for full-on blogging, I am, for now, going to share micro-blogs of “headline tips” which come to mind as I edit.
As well as working on RECIPES FOR MELISSA which is due out in the Spring, I’ve also been re-reading an early draft of the MS for my second book THE SEARCH. Doing so makes me smile as it reminds me how much I have learned! Cue my first 2015 headline tip…
Don’t crowd the stage!!
By that I mean be careful not to have too many characters and too many sub plots, all vying for attention. When I first started writing fiction , I made this mistake as I was trying to figure out how to fill a whole novel. It took me a while to realise that what you actually need to do is not scatter gun more characters and more strands but instead dig deeper with fewer characters and strands that genuinely interact or play to the theme.
Novels need minor characters too , of course. And sub plots. But you need to be careful that you don’t let them get too big for their boots. I had a weakness for this in my early writing and I’m very conscious of it now.
So, I repeat. Don’t crowd the stage. Try to opt for fewer key characters and DIG DEEP.
Hope this helps. Here’s wishing you a wonderful and productive 2015.
Now….toodle pip. It’s straight back to the edit!!
Teresa Driscoll - journalist, author, mother of two and lover of great coffee.