Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Had one of those illuminating moments while reading this article by Robert Harris on the Guardian website. (I don't spend all day reading that pesky website by the way. Honest.) Over the years he's been given advice that's really helped him, and I must say there were a few tips there that helped me see my WIP in a different way.
The first tip he was given is that you should always know how your novel is going to end. A novel "recounts something that has already happened; therefore you cannot just make it up as you go along." The advice helped him finish his first novel, Fatherland.
Sounds blummin' obvious when you think about it, but it really helped clarify something for me.
The second tip was that "the shape and style of a novel is determined by the thought you give it beforehand: that the way you approach your material is at least as important, maybe more important, than the material itself and that this process of settling on an angle of attack may take months, even years of frustration and false starts, during which many writers - and certainly most writers' families and friends - believe the author may be going slightly mad."
Well that certainly rings true. Especially the months and years bit. Oh, and the slightly mad part.
Thirdly, "you develop a tolerance for your own crudeness. And patience with your own crap. Belief in your crap, which is just 'stay with your crap and it will get better. Come back every day and keep going'."
Or, it might just stay crap...
Sound advice methinks. Although much better advice would be "stay away from the Guardian website Clarkey, and get on with it."