Thursday, 3 March 2011


I hadn't been to Renegades for a couple of weeks - Kit had a gig I needed to attend and what with Nell being away... - but I managed to get there yesterday. I suppose I was a bit distracted - I've still kinda wired after the Big Push on editing Spring - so everything that was read I just sat there thinking about how I would edit it.

I've come to the conclusion that every sentence you write has got to do one of three things:

  • help with exposition, and this has got to be the absolute minimum required to keep the reader's belief appropriately suspended;
  • push the plot along; or
  • describe some action or thought which is pertinent to the development of the character or the plot.
Everything else is just padding. Now I'm sure there's some learned tome out there which will tell me that this is bollocks but certainly for the type of action-centred books I write it's valid. What I've been guilty of is writing stuff that I think is kinda neat and clever but which is simply ballast - the sort of stuff a reader skip-reads. But no more: you are looking at a leaner, meaner writer now!

Back to Renegades and the reason for my digression. Misha brought another chapter of her book about Brunel and the Clifton Suspension Bridge and it read very well but I think she falls into the same trap as me...she over-writes. And as her book is aimed at 9-12s I guess she's got to be very parsimonious with her words. The good thing is that even now the story has got good pace - and believe me you can't buy good pace - so I think with the use of a red pen it's going to be turbo-charged and this I suspect is what kids want from a book.

I read a canto of my Eddic of Loci which will form part of the poem inscribed on the mysterious Column, the Column being my McGuffin in Spring. I'm not really much cop at poetry - the nearest I got before was writing lyrics for Nell when she was in chanteuse mode - but I was quite pleased with how it sounded and the comments from the rest of the Renegades were useful too.

Interesting evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment