Since I am actively working on my new novel, you will see a lot more process-minded posts here. For the last year, I have basically been on the road promoting Silver Sparrow, so I didn’t blog very much. I figured that the world was not all that interested in my life in the various hotels all over the country. (I recently unlocked at badge on 4square because I have checked into 40 different airports.) But now that my writing life has settled into a groove, it’s all I want to talk about.
Yesterday, I was on twitter. (As you know, I am a tweeting fool! @tayari). I saw this tweet:
My advice to this writer is: write the story however you can. Do whatever you do. I am a serious overwriter in my early drafts. By overwriting, I mean, adjectives galore, adverbs all over the place. My characters sob. They shriek. They snarl. The “purple” language is because I know there is some need for emotion on the page and when I am working through a couple of drafts, I don’t have the energy or even words yet to conjure that emotion. In the first drafts (first few drafts, really) I am on a sort of writing rampage. I wouldn’t know a nuance if it slapped me. The goal at that stage is to get the story out.
If you don’t trust yourself to know when you’re overwriting, get yourself an editor who doesn’t play that mess. I have a friend who specializes prose so dry and crisp it will make you thirsty. I often ask her to give my work a quick once over. She is brutal and often strikes out some of my favorite phrases. Sometimes I just take her advice and lose the words completely, and other times I work to come up with a better way to state the same idea. And other times, I ignore her all together.
Right now, as I write this, I am looking at a monologue that I wrote last week that actually includes this: She cried until her face shone with tears. Yes, I, a professional writer of fiction, wrote that atrocious sentence. I am not ashamed. Why? Because I know it will not be in the finished product. It’s just a placeholder until I come up with something better. And I will. And you will too. Don’t worry. You will not let yourself go out like that.