Friday, 3 October 2014

...Oh comma, Where Art Thou?

So it's nearing the end of the second week of my challenge and well, it's not going great - it's not awful, I haven't flung myself out of the kitchen window from sheer frustration (don't worry, the fall isn't that far and I probably wouldn't break anything) but, to say I'm finding it hard is an understatement.

The biggest problem being, well, there's several problems but I shall hone into the two that have been nagging me:

1, writer voice. It sounds silly right? It sounds like something writers yell at each other when they feel their peers are being wankers. Through drama school we called it the "Shakespeare" voice and it made you sound like an arse. But the problem is I know what voice I have when I'm writing - it's my voice (obviously) with a sarcastic twang, much like how I write on this here blog. But when I try to "write" it becomes really wanky and self indulgent and it's frustrating. I know what my voice should sound like but it's not translating. I'm not sure if it's because I'm putting so much onus on telling a "good story" or because, in fact, I'm not telling a true one. RAAAAAHHHHH, RANT, RANT STOMP!

2, the comma. The bloody comma. It drives me insane. I use commas as a break in speech where you expect the character to breathe - that's how I understand commas (thank you drama school...). So if there's a massive paragraph without a comma, it's not because I'm not quite sure how to use it, it's just that my character is worked up in a way were they wouldn't take a breath during that sentence. But is that the right way? Does that make me look like an incompetent user of commas? Will the comma police come after me, twirling comma battens and demanding my blood? It's all too much to bear, it's like trying to find a more interesting word then "said" - I'll tell you about that next week...

Any insight on the comma dilemma will really help. It really is something that I think I'm struggling with, but then it throws up the question - what is the RIGHT way to structure a story? Who says what's the right and wrong way? There are so many stories that have been published where people exclaim how fantastically different the structure was and how it "made" the story. I remember reading about a story where on one page were the text was shaped to look like a whale or shark... is that the wrong way to structure a story? Does that aid or destroy the story? If it's "artistic licensing" then whose to say if it's right or wrong? RAAAAAAHHHHH, RANT, RANT, STOMP! Someone please put me out of my misery.

Now because I've been going round and round in my thinking I've not written much. I've fallen gravely behind on how much I should have written to hit my "quota" and what's worse, I hate the story I started to write so I've started writing another one. *sigh* this is just getting messy isn't it? I blame the inner critics, they were gearing up for a bloodbath and I just couldn't let them have it.

The fella, bless him, said something that touched home a few days ago. He was watching me scribble away and asked how many pages he set, I said 300 and he said how about 30? My ego bruised I lashed out (typical) because I thought, he thought, I couldn't do it (to be honest, 300 pages in 30 days in a little bit out of my reach), so I said how about we half it and call it 150? He then replied, I'd rather read 30 pages of a genuinely great story then 300 pages of shit. Well said. And I agree (not because it shortens my "sentence") but because it gives me some breathing room, I can play around now and not worry about where the stories going or if it's any good. So chums, I'm gonna write more then 30 pages for sure, but maybe not as many as 300. Either way it'll be a cracking story.

So here's the deal cyber fellows, I'm going to post the first chapter of both stories and I would like some feedback, if you want, you don't have to if you don't want to, I won't take it personally, like I said before the kitchen window isn't that far off the ground...

But seriously, I want to know which story to, after the 30 days, take further, to develop greater, to really make my own and your help will be much appreciated. It might quiet the inner critics, momentarily...

Here's hoping.

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