I am a writer, right? I have a Diploma that says I can write and a blog with lots of hits that shows that real people, like you, read the things I write. But the problem is that I’m a woman of few words (some would say its better that way) and that is not the writers way. ‘Normal’ writers scrawl copious quantities of words and have to edit, chop and further edit their excesses. There was a 5% leeway for the assignments on my creative writing courses and I kept hearing how people had written double the words and were struggling to pare it down before submission. Not me. To reach the word count, I’d have to edit to find three words where I thought one was adequate. The term ‘murder your darlings’ coined by someone whose name I maybe should remember but don’t would never apply to me – I don’t have any darlings! Don’t get me wrong, I love writing words, I love language, to listen, to talk to people and to write is my passion.
At the beginning of my writing studies I bought a lovely little book, ‘Eyes like Butterflies’, a treasury of similes and metaphors, gathered together by Terence Hodgson. I read with delight entries like in the section headed ‘Nipple’:- ‘the great peach thermometer of her nipples’ and wondered who thinks of stuff like that? Joe Coomer in Apologising to dogs apparently. TH has also included Janette Turner on ‘Eyebrows’, ‘her eyebrows knitting together like offended caterpillars’ in Borderline. Is it possible to offend a caterpillar and if so how do we know that the soft centred beastie is offended? Nah, I could never dream up stuff like that.
This lack of ability to waffle on has often made me question my own intelligence but I can’t be bothered with using ‘big words’, if someone needs to go look up a word I’ve used, then it’s taken them from the immediacy of the read. This probably makes my writing seem immature, I don’t know, but I must do something right because I get quite good grades. I do know ‘big words’, lots of them, there’s ‘large’ and ‘huge’ for instance or even ‘etymology’ – now that’s one that I love!
Another thing that fellow students seem to have to do is first, second and even third drafts, in fact the textbooks say you must! Guess who doesn’t? Yes that will be me. Except for when I wrote my final assessment, I just do it, tweaking as I go, a final read through and that’s it. No endless redrafting for me. A few months ago Myslexia interviewed the prolific Susan Hill who said she only ever does one draft, sounds like my kind of woman, hooray! I must give her a read sometime, recommendations as comments welcome please. . .
The thing that I do is festering, I work a story in my head for months only making vague occasional notes that I can’t read when I need to, because of my dreadful handwriting. I do it anyway with the faith that the act of the scribble will consign it to my memory, which sometimes happens and sometimes doesn’t. You know as I’m writing it’s occurred to me that I should try writing books for children, that would be an excuse for not writing very much AND using little words. Um, interesting thought to hold, watch this space.