Saturday, May 4, 2013

Old-fashioned writer

Sometimes I feel like I'm an old-fashioned writer. 

Other writers I know are using a lot of professional applications on tablets and pc when I'm just adding one words after another. I don't even know what those tools do or how to use them. Is it my Romantic/Romanesque style or just a way to avoid going into something which seems complicated?
I'm not too sure.

Once upon a time writers were able to write for monthly magazine and to add one chapter a month. They didn't have to go through months of editing processes of course there might have been typos and some inconsistencies but it still gave us some of the best books of all time. I'm not saying that editing is bad, I use a lot of it. But I think that sometimes a natural story coming strait out of the mind of it's creator has a lot more chance to describe something profound than something that has been revised by several people in months especially when there ideas dramatically differ. For example, I had always been told that I needed to add more characters in "Demon Soul", there is a place particularly crowded and I was asked to had more to make it great contrast with the quiet library where my main character spend a lot of time. Some readers wanted to know more about secondary characters so I developed them in the story giving them each backgrounds. I was told recently, for the first time, that I had too many character making the first chapters hard to read. I'm not sure how to go about it. I might try to have more 2 dimension characters and less 3 dimension characters in the sequels. I don't think I will reedit Demon Soul with the new point of view, it seems like going back to earlier version which were less appreciated. I believe that in the end, I have the last word anyway as the author.

Another reason why I think editing can be stealing something out of the story is that you evolve when you write a story and if you pause long enough you are not the same person anymore than you were when you started. All in all the characters change during revision and they might lose an indescribable flavor. If Jane Austin had edited Emma many times, I might not have ended up hating the character for the first half of the story only I might have hated here all the way. But liking her in the end made me like the novel. 
As you become a better writer with time I think it is important to understand that if your old stories don't seem as good as the new one,they  still represent where you were at when you wrote them and a lot of people are still there and probably enjoy them a lot. 

I find the description of Paris in Notre-Dame de Paris absolutely atrocious but I still read through it and enjoyed the rest of the novel. I'm probably not the only one who got frustrated with the fish catalog in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Stay true to your story !

1 comment:

  1. While I do love editing and think it's important, I think you've hit on something here. It's easy to over edit and lose some of the magic that brings life to a story.

    I also think it becomes a question of how much you should worry about fixing a story so that you aren't doing anything that others won't like. You can't please everyone and sometimes you have to take chances. Chances are easier to take in a first draft than they are in a revision.

    Interesting post, thanks for sharing!