Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Unexciting email; Final Fiction session with the Writer with the Writerly Name. Wednesday 1 April 2009.

I’m obscenely happy that I (kind-of) own a posh phone but these are a few of emithers I didn't particularly want to be alerted had arrived:

  • Asos style update.
  • Bounty Produce: We supply fresh vegetables /seafood in and around Metro Manila.
  • Facebook Shelley Buske Partridge sent you a message on Facebook...
    Subject: Queenswood Heights?
    "I am looking for Kim McGowan who lived in Queenswood Heights, Orleans back in the 70's" (no - but that just makes me feel dull and provincial because living in Queenswood Heights, Orleans sounds way more interesting than Glasson Dock - which is where I was).
  • John Lewis Hottest News (somehow I doubt it).
  • ബൌന്ടി പ്രോടുസ്: വെ സപ്ലൈ ഫ്രെഷ് വെങേടബ്ലെസ് /സീഫൂദ് ഇന്‍ ആന്‍ഡ് അരൌന്ദ് മെട്രോ മനില.
  • Johnnie Boden: a great offer! (see JL above).
  • Ticketline Ticket Talk Camp Bestival 2009.
  • Waterstone’s Team Stop press! New J K Rowling available to pre-order.
  • Marks & Spencer Summer favourites (unlikely).
I just want to hear from real people.

Came out of the Writer with the Writerly Name's final fiction session a different person. Now, not only do I know that the way you unmake a shitty first draft is to redraft it until it sounds agreeable, I also know how to start the process. Credit goes to Kaplan’s Laundry List of Stylistic Glitches, I think from chapter 9 in a book called Rewriting: A Creative Approach to Writing Fiction by DM Kaplan.

I’ve got to ditch a lot of stuff but mostly I have to rid myself of unnecessary adjectives, adverbs and stop overusing the conditional or past perfect tense. That is would and had as in ‘he would make himself a novelty Easter hat and he would leave glue and feathers all over the kitchen’, or ‘he had made himself a novelty Easter hat and he had left the glue and feathers everywhere’. Better to write he made an Easter hat and left glue and feathers everywhere. Betterer still, I suppose, hide the glue and feathers and Bob’s your uncle.

And I’ve got to watch how I use a big list of Weasel words, for example - about, actually, eventually, really, somehow, truly – and a lot more. I use them all excessively with the praiseworthy exception of ‘basically’ which I've avoided for a long time because it grates.

A person from work emailed to say she enjoyed a review I'd had published (should that be I published? Nah! sounds far too pompous and as if I did it myself). A review I wrote that was used in a library periodical. She described my writing style as lively. I know it was meant kindly but that jaunty lively disturbs me. Is it euphemistic? Like ‘salt of the earth’ (common) and ‘friendly and outgoing’ (fast). Doesn’t lively imply shitty self conscious verbose first draft-type writing?

My blog got a nice heads-up at Preston Writing Network . Thank you PWN!

The sculpture is part of a war memorial in a St Annes park. It makes me infinitely sad because the big lady is too bereft to cuddle her baby.

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