Bad Grammar Update

April 7th, 2011 · No Comments »

I’m working hard on the second draft of Bad Grammar and it is slowly coming along. I’m at the impatient stage where I just want it to be good already.

The monkey I hired to do the rewriting for me didn’t work out. He said it would take hundreds of monkeys with typewriters to fix my work and with the price of bananas being so high at the moment, well, I just couldn’t afford that sort of ridiculousness. Elephants work for peanuts, but you should see the size of the typewriters you have to get – every key is the size of a plate.

Actually I’ve realised rewriting is my favourite part of writing. The hardest bit is when you have an idea and nothing else but a whole heap of blank pages. Once you put in all the hard work and get something on the page, it is then fun to move stuff around, to work out what is not working, to cut the redundant stuff, to extend some sections that aren’t yet fully formed, and generally to pull everything apart and stick it back together again until it looks right. How long does that take? Who knows – that’s where the impatience comes in.

The other problem a writer has is deciding when to show their work to someone else. For instance, when do you show a publisher? If you show something too early, it can really put you off a project if it gets rejected. On the other hand if your project has potential, then a publisher’s input could be very valuable. I have a couple of pre-readers. My wife got to read the first draft. I have another person who is lined up for the second and then … well, we’ll see where we’re at.

The thing I’m working on with Bad Grammar at the moment is trying to make my main character more likable. I have a tendency to make my characters very flawed (and annoying) at the beginning. This is good for storytelling because there is the potential for change, but it also means the reader might just put the book down before the pay-off. It’s a fine balance and a problem I also had with Chicken Stu. Marcus, in Bad Grammar, is a very stubborn and arrogant boy, so I’m finding ways to soften him around the edges and give the reader glimpses of his true self. With Stu, it was a little easier because of his wit and sense of humour.

It could be worse – I could have a good looking main character with strong morals, a perfect disposition, and the ability to handle any situation without raising a sweat – you know, like most characters in Hollywood action films – how boring would that be?

I’ve been listening tonight to Paul Simon’s new album So Beautiful or So What on repeat. I am a massive Paul Simon admirer so it’s always nice to have new music from him. The song that I connect with the most is the one aptly titled Rewrite.

I’ve been working on my rewrite, that’s right
I’m gonna change the ending
Gonna throw away my title
And toss it in the trash
Every minute after midnight
All the time I’m spending
It’s just for working on my rewrite
Gonna turn it into cash

Very true Mr Simon but if only there was cash at the end of the tunnel ……

Categories: Books , Writing

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