Tag Archives: Chocolate

Variety is the spice of life

I have been writing like a demon this week. Deadlines are rushing towards me with the speed (and I fear the impact) of comets, so I have been bum-on-seat to hit word targets, sustained by chocolate when necessary.

Several crumpled chocolate wrappers.
The sacrifices I make for my art…

This approach works, but it can also be wasteful (and unnecessarily like to cause Type II diabetes). To get the WIP finished I made myself keep going, writing through my niggles and only realising at the end of 7k words that I’d taken the story in completely the wrong direction. This did give me a first draft to work with so I could see what I needed to achieve with the story. But cutting and replacing 7k words when time is pressing was a sobering experience.

So with 5k words to go to finish, and 3k of these already (badly) drafted I decided to take another approach. I wrote down brief notes on what I needed to achieve in those last 5k words, what each of my main characters would be fighting for … and I left the WIP for a day.

I’m a firm believer that thinking time is some of the most valuable writing time, so I let those ideas percolate while I took the day “off” and wrote something just for fun.

I ended my day off having written 4k words of a steampunk novella, and with my energy levels topped up ready to get back and beat the WIP into submission.

Probably this approach should have occurred to me earlier – I like to read more than one book at a time, in different genres, so it makes perfect sense that I should write that way, too; alternating progress in writing and thinking. I’ll definitely take a day “off” again when I know I’ve got thinking to do.

It’s all a matter of taste…

The thing that fascinates me most (maybe – books are endlessly fascinating) is the question of taste. I’ve lost count of the number of award-winning, rave-reviewed books that I’ve thrown across the room. Whatever the award judges found in the book eluded me entirely.

Meanwhile, books that I love and praise to the skies and push on friends and relations with the assurance that they, too, will adore it come back with a pulled face and a lukewarm, “It was all right, I suppose…” (words intended to spare my feelings rather than provide a genuine opinion, I’m sure).

A lovely pile of novels
Which would you rather? These …

I suppose this is no different from taste in other areas – we don’t all like chocolate (really?), or brussel sprouts (quite) or the colour indigo, after all. But I am fascinated by how these preferences come about. Science has discovered why some of us love brussels and some hate them (it’s genetically dictated by the number and type of taste buds you have, apparently), so I wonder if one day we’ll know why I sighed and tossed aside that Waterstones’ Prize-winning novel while my friend has read it seventeen times (and counting).

Picture of brussels sprouts
… or these? (Picture courtesy of porbital via freedigitalphotos.net)

Am I alone – or does anyone else scratch their head at what other people saw in an awful book, or why no-one else adores your all-time favourite novel?