Sunday 15 August 2010

Snippets of ideas

I haven't looked at my manuscript, apart from printing if off on Friday, for over two weeks and it has been agony. But this break has allowed to start thinking freely about it again. I have snippets of ideas, images, phrases and thoughts for the story that appear uninvited but enthusiastically in my brain. I note them all down in my notebook. A beautiful bright red moleskin notebook that my son got me for Mother's Day that I saved for this particularly project.
I am talking about two vital parts of the writing process here. One is leaving your manuscript alone for a minimum of a couple of weeks to let the story ferment in your brain. Bubbling away means all those ideas that have been at the edge of your thoughts for so long but could never quite come into focus. Putting the manuscript away allows them to jump into focus. It is something that some of my students are reluctant to see at first. Some of them think that when the first draft it done then that is it. Re-writing is for bad writers. WRONG! Re-writing is a very important part of the writing process particularly, if like me, you are an 'adder-in' rather than a 'taker-out' when editing/re-writing.Walking away from it means that you can come back to your manuscript afresh.

The second one is the importance of an ever present notebook. This was something I was introduced to by AM, my DoS, and it was one of the most invaluable bits of advice I have ever received and something that I try and pass on to my students. Carrying a notebook with you all the times means when you see something, or hear a wonderful phrase or a nugget of an idea drops into your brain you have somewhere to put it. It is also the place where I put the notes from all my research. This means that everything is kept in one place so you know where to look to find information rather than trawling through bits of paper that you intended to file.

Now am off to buy new pens and pencils for writing with on retreat....another important part of stationery ;-)

1 comment:

  1. It's so hard, isn't it, to leave things alone? As you say, though, it's vital, and I too am a confirmed adder-in. Best of luck with the re-write!