Jenny Gordon (jennygordon) wrote,
Jenny Gordon
jennygordon

Well, That Was Interesting ...

Hmm, well, bolstered the support and encouragement of all of my lovely LJ friends, I’ve just finished the “ego-on-hold” re-read of my very first completed novel, and, as threatened, I thought I’d share.  

ToD was completed in 2002. It was primarily an exercise in proving to myself that I could write at novel length (previously, I’d only written short stories). And man, I certainly chucked myself in at the deep end as it was written in first person for one vp character, and third person for the other (there was a reason for doing so), as well as including a number of short fairytales/myths/folktales. According to my PC, I haven’t opened the file since 2005. 

I thought I’d throw down a few of the things I discovered about it: 

  • It’s over-wordy and too purple – I’ve definitely learned to be more frugal in my writing, not to mention reining in my tendency for purple prose!
  • There’s too much internalisation on the part of the main viewpoint characters – I hadn’t yet learned more elegant ways of conveying what characters are thinking and feeling.
  • While it’s there and has some interesting ideas and nice twiddy bits, the plot is a little thin. Definitely more a book of ideas. I still find I have to work at achieving the balance between ‘ideas’ and crafting an effective plot.
  • Pacing. Hmmm .... what pacing?! I think the mechanics of pacing is one of the most important things we need to grasp as writers, and it’s certainly an aspect of my writing of which I’m mindful.
  • Interestingly, my “voice” is present, even as far back as this first novel; I guess it was evolving over the course of my short story writing career.
  • While some of the secondary characters are rather flat, the main characters are mostly interesting and engaging.
  • Equally so the dialogue, though there isn’t enough of it, as I was inclined to use long tracts of exposition instead of dialogue and interaction. 

And you know what? Most surprising of all is the fact that I found myself pondering reworking it, or elements of it, which is something I NEVEREVER anticipated. Although it was written as an adult novel, I can see possibilities for it as a Young Adult story. If I do decide to re-work it at some point, it will certainly need a major overhaul, and a complete re-imagining of one of the main vp characters, but the possibility is definitely there on a back-burner. 

All in all, it’s been a mighty interesting exercise, and I guess I’ve discovered that I definitely HAVE made progress with my writing – PHEW! Hopefully it’s a sign of that progress that I understand why ToD doesn’t work in its current form, but can see ways in which its strengths could be made to work in a different form. 

I wonder what the next re-read holds in store ...

Tags: dancingnovel, writing
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