Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Tea Bag Anyone?
It's so long since I did serious revision I'd forgotten how rewarding it can be. Once you get past the stage of thinking "My God this is awful, how could I have written such shit???" and look on it as a renovation job there is pleasure to be had. It's a bit like moving into an old house that needs a lot of work. You know the dimensions of the rooms and the style you want, it's just a case of repairing the plaster work and slapping on some wallpaper.
I've stopped cringing now and expect to have to rewrite most of it, so it's a nice little bonus when I find a sentence or paragraph that doesn't need much. It means I can skip on feeling momentarily smug.
But what really comes through from the first draft, in amongst the clunky prose and the cliche ridden dialogue, is a sense of the mood of the scenes. Establishing that is what makes a first draft so hard to write when you're thrashing around trying to move the plot forward while getting to know your characters. But once it's on the page you can fix the bad writing. In fact I like fixing it. I'd forgotten how much I like it.
Then there are the unintentional and hilarious gaffs. Like this one:
He poked the tea bag with a fork before fishing it out of the mug and handing it to her.
Wonder what she was going to do with that tea bag?