Wednesday, 28 November 2007

CC Devine Says...

...hello there,

I’m CC, a language graduate (alas not a recent one…) and I’m from London.

I’m a relative newcomer to writing compared to some of you but find it compulsive now that I’ve started! Spurred on by some particularly bad chick lit I resolved to do better and started writing my own novel around eighteen months ago. I’ve become obsessed with words – both their meaning and their quantity.

The combination of arrogance and naivety led me to write 100,000 words of my novel in snatches of time after work, in between weekend activities and auntie duties. A trusted circle of friends and family read the manuscript and came back with constructive criticism and the odd word of encouragement. They were being kind.

I cringe when I read that first version. It was dire – no structure, a weak plot, a cast of thousands, dozens of inconsistencies and a host of other problems – but I didn’t care at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and was so fired up with new ideas each time a reader gave me their feedback that I was convinced I could do better.

The novel has had various incarnations but everything came to a grinding halt in May this year. I found I just didn’t have the energy anymore and had run out of steam. Perhaps it would never be good enough and was destined to be my bottom drawer effort.

Or perhaps not... Early last month I decided to put together a thread plan and give these many thousands of words some proper structure. I’ve learned a lot from reading the Novel Racers’ blogs and from devouring the wealth of information available online from Miss Snark’s tips to Crusie Mayer Writing Workshop etc.

I now feel more confident about what I’m doing and realise the importance of having written such dross in those early days. Some of it is going back into the new version but with more thought and care involved this time around.

Joining the Novel Racers is a definite incentive to me and I’m thrilled to be part of the group. I hope to get this draft done by the new year so that I can spend January and February doing some serious editing before I go away for a couple of months. Ideally I’d love to go on my travels and forget all about it for a while before returning in May and beginning the submission process.

I started my blog last month with the aim of writing a few words each day and am wondering why I didn’t do it sooner – it’s addictive! I’m still getting the hang of things with layout, word counters etc. so please bear with me while I add you all to my sidebar and make it prettier over time. I’m not here for this Friday’s coffee break but will pop in on Sunday to say a belated hello.



KeVin K. said...

Ah, writing a bit every day in your blog. Why didn't I think of that?

All writing is addictive. I know, my day job is in mental health and I recognize the pathology. Learning about writing by reading Novel Racers' blogs? I'd advise avoiding mine then, I haven't a clue. But most of these others are certainly worth reading. I know that's what I do when I should be writing.

Speaking of which -- you've completed a 100k ms. That's something less than one percent of the people who say they want to be writers accomplish. Pretty impressive.

Welcome aboard.

ChrisH said...

Welcome - and well done for completing a manuscript.

Fiona said...

Welcome again -
I can only echo what Kevin said - about the impressiveness of completing a 100,000 word manuscript - not about his blog, which I love and is well worth visiting and which I've learnt much from along with all the other Novel Racers' blogs.

CC Devine said...

I agree. Kevin, you're being modest!

Well I've always been good at waffling and always had to seriously edit my uni essays so writing lots comes easy. Making it coherent and meaningful is something else!

Looking forward to learning some more from you all.

KayJay said...

Welcome! I agree - I find writing lots easier than writing little, but it's getting it all in shape that's the hard bit!

Helen Shearer said...

Hi, welcome to the group. I find that writing the dross at the beginning is where the ideas for the good stuff comes from. Giving yourself permission to write a load of crap early on frees the imagination. Good for you for dusting off your ms and getting back to work!

sheepish said...

Hi and welcome. 100k wow so what if it's not all brilliant it has to be a pretty good start.
" You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write, not to think" Finding Forrester[a movie] If only I could practice what I preach. Good luck.

Jen said...

Welcome aboard - and well done on finishing your novel! That's a fab achievement that most people don't manage. Yay!

Sarah*G* said...

Welcome to the Racers. They are all a great bunch of writers and all have inspiration, great advice, tips and all are at different stages of writing (which is what makes it all the better). Some published, some not yet and some dreaming (I am the latter at the moment!)

Cathy said...

Welcome from another languages graduate ( a very long time ago...)

liz fenwick said...

Welcome CC!

Great quote Sheepish :-)

Lane said...

Welcome CC. Looking forward to getting to know you.

Anonymous said...

Hi CC. Just catching up and notice you have done similar to what I did a while ago! I wrote just over 80,000 words of mostly an unstructured story. I am now writing a new novel and hope to incorporate some of those words into it. I wonder how many others do this!

Best wishes, Crystal xx

Rowan Coleman said...

Hi CC - welcome to the racers - looking forward to reading your blog and writing mine more diligently - its all these pesky books I have to write!! I am going to take a leaf from yu book and write a litte bit each day if I can. Rx

CC Devine said...

Thanks Rowan - great to hear from you and keep up the good work with the various works!