Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Some years ago a writer friend told me he enjoyed reading books written by poets, as the way they use language is different from non-poets.

The conversation came t mind recently, and now I can’t put it aside.  I keep examining the sections I’ve written of my new novel to see signs of this poetic ‘difference’…

There are certain techniques I use which follow from one writing style and medium to another: I can certainly see how my poetry-writing influences my prose, or vice versa.  And, following feedback from my writing group on other work, it seems to be the same in all my prose.

I probably use metaphor and simile more than some writers, and I use a lot of imagery generally.  But to me that’s part of the ‘showing, not telling’ ethos – I want readers to visualise things in a certain way, and for that to happen I need to make sure I’ve given them all the clues they need.

It also comes from literature courses when we examined the structure of books which clearly left me with a sense of the ‘right’ way of writing.  It’s right for me, anyway – and that’s all any novelist can offer.

But I am now forced to consider how accessible that makes my writing: is it too ‘lyrical’, like DH Lawrence (who also wrote poetry), or too ‘complex’ like Henry James?  Is it too wordy?

This is a hold-your-nerve moment.

I have long thought that book one suffers from having a controversial element to its storyline, and that to give it life will be a risk for any agent – and yet I will not change things to make the storyline more agreeable. If that means I self-publish, well, so be it: many people think this is a better option than the traditional model, anyway.

I have to be as bullish about all my writing.  I have to believe in it, and write the story I want to tell in the way I want to tell it, and stop trying to second-guess myself.  My writing style is part of who I am as a writer, whether people enjoy it or not.

So when I go back to writing again tomorrow, I’m going to keep writing my poetic prose and remember that it’s not just about that page, or that line: it’s about who I am as a writer, and the journey I’ve travelled to get here.

And 50% will change when I revise the work, anyway 🙂

In other news – It’s book 36 of the 100 novels list this week – The Golden Bowl by Henry James.  After the painful process of reading The Turn of the Screw, I think I’ll give this one a miss.  Having read the comments and some examples of sentences, I feel it’s only sensible!

And finally – I was pleased to see this snippet about Michael  Morpurgo’s writing room. It’s so old a snippet it pre-dates me giving up work to write but it popped up as a suggested article and has vindicated my position about writing in comfort with a load of pillows behind my head!

Until next time,

Happy writing,




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