Saturday 6 January 2018

Lessons Learned and Resolutions Made

The Christmas cards are down, the trimmings dusted and packed away. After a mad twelve days of Festive conviviality surely follows a period of introspection and a serious redrafting of The Plan for 2018. A few members of Hornsea Writers share their thoughts before staggering back into the fray:

Joy Gelsthorpe
I've learnt even more this year how useful it is to read work out loud.  It's not just the invaluable input from the group that ensues from the readings but reading my work aloud, even to myself, pushes me into neater expressions and avoidance of repetition. I'm now reducing my use of adverbs and am trying to use more powerful verbs instead.  As I keep re-drafting Book One of the quartet, I'm hoping to hear some good news from a publisher as its editor re-reads the first two chapters (fingers crossed).

Karen Wolfe:
I’ve had an editing epiphany. A revelation about the importance of word by word, line by line, paragraph by nit-pickingly punctuated paragraph, editing. Like a re-vamped room, first-draft prose is transformed by a good old tidy up. And like that room, hidden corners assume new dimensions. 

Penny Grubb:
Completing the 2nd edition of my joint-authored ‘how to’ for writers of commercial fiction made me revisit a whole range of authors from Stephen King to James Herriot; Charles Dickens to Kurt Vonnegut,  reminding me how the works of others can revitalise the writer within. It also reminded me of some very useful tools for getting the next book underway.

April Taylor:
I have learned that I cannot write four full-length books a year, though I managed three and one short. Neither can I plan a book to the nth degree because I end up in a writing cul-de-sac. But, the exercise of trying the planning route has emphasised what I already know: where to schedule the highs and lows to make a balanced book.

In 2018, the plan is to write the next Georgia Pattison full-length, Say Goodbye Now, as well as the first in the Gethyn Rees ‘Wars of the Roses’ series, Loyalty in Conflict, and a Georgia Christmas story. However, I shall not be glued to my desk and will explore developing into a human being rather than a human doing.

Stuart Aken
It's been a busy year. A false start with Book 3 of the 'Generation Mars' series delayed progress, but all is now going well. Writing a novel each year has meant the shorter works have been neglected. So, once the current WIP is with the publisher, I'll be concentrating on short stories. I'll be enjoying life in the year of my 70th birthday, too!

Lessons learned? Plans that look solid on paper have a tendency to destabilise during the act of writing, especially across a series. But there is no such thing as a cul-de-sac, only a Plan B. With the multi-faceted 'Torc Of Moonlight' trilogy now out into the world, I'm looking forward to immersing myself in shorter works, different genres, and a first-person viewpoint. I shall be writing fiction somewhat less complex, and giving myself time to smell the flowers.

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