Monday, November 15, 2010

Come on & Let me Flow!


Another one of those lovely buzz words that make you want to weep over your shiny laptop.

I definitely put it up there with Voice, as an undefinable term. And just like voice, it's ever so important.

Doesn't it just want to make you scream? Yet another thing to be 'aware' of when you write.

Well, for me I've been pondering 'flow' since I began to 'try' and 'write' my first chapter for a competition (due THIS Saturday - eek!). It's only 3,000 words and I'm roughly half way there, but I'm just not happy with it. There are moments of flow, don't get me wrong (or maybe this is voice?) - but then there are parts where it feels like I've made a mistake playing the piano - I've included too many beats in the bar and everything sounds obvious, flat and amateurish.

To hear 'Flow', you have to read your work aloud (or in your head). When the Flow is gone, you see the words on the page. You remember you're reading writing and awake from the spell. My writing reads like writing - it does not read like a story.

I equate this with - if it looks easy to do, it's been done right, while my writing looks like I worked it to death.

(God, I hope the judges don't read this).

Anyhoo I'm not a perfectionist normally. But I think I'm really starting to be one when it comes to the auld writing. Which isn't necessarily bad, but is driving me absolutely nuts because nothing seems good enough.

Definitely amateur sums it up.

So i think there is a hard slog in front of my Ladies and Gents, because I might be sorta able to write but am I able to tell a story?

So, Santa, if you're listening - I'd really like to be a professional writer/storyteller for Christmas :) and maybe throw in a literary agent and publishing deal too while your at it :)

Thanks for listening to my moaning!


Anne R. Allen said...

Great analogy with writing/piano playing. Plus when know you've got a note wrong in writing, you don't always know which one. It's damned hard.

But you can take heart knowing the writers whose work seems most effortless and easy turn out to be the ones who work the hardest on it. Vonnegut could work one sentence for days.

Writing fiction on deadline is very, very tough, because usually it really needs to "set" for a while before you can shape it with editing. You need distance.

But yeah, I know, the deadline is your incentive. What I've found is that some of my best stories are the ones I wrote for a contest, lost miserably, and re-wrote six months later.

I don't know if that helps right now, but maybe it will down the road.

Che Gilson said...

I want an agent for Christmas too!

Flow to me is just when you are working and the words come. Right now my book is not flowing- or at least one is not flowing.

The thing is that all writing IS worked to death and that's HOW it appears to flow so well.

The magic of editing and revision.

chicknamedhermia said...

Just write write write and then come back after it's all on paper and work on making it 'flow' then. Printing it out and reading it off paper is a HUGE help in doing that!

Emily Cross said...

@Anne, now that the deadline has passed, I'm going to let it 'set' and have lots and lots of drafts. Daunting but at least then I'll feel i'm showing my best work :)

@Che - Thanks Che! Yes, I definitely need to work on mine to get it flow :)

@Hermia - Thanks for your advice, will do :)

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