Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Its a matter of taste

Still harping on about the beginning of a new year but it is important to reflect upon your work, periodically.

The thorny question being 'how good is my work?'

How do you judge? In the realm of the arts we depend heavily on the opinions of others which are by their very definition - subjective. Read about Charles Dickens and he was criticised for poor grammar, Dylan Thomas couldn't make a living in the UK and so on. Think about the books you like to read and then discuss reading with a group of friends, then you will find out the world of differences in taste between people who consider themselves as friends - with all that that means.

Some comments

Cessation - 'it should be made into a TV series'
Steele novels - 'your work is improving all the time'; 'I am trying to get our reading group to buy your books'
Earth plc - 'its good!'; 'when is the next one out?'

These are just a few modest comments I've received fairly recently and as a part of my self-review they make me feel good. As a reading public I feel one thing that we don't do well is to review, no matter how briefly. I have reviewed more works since I began writing but by no means all that I've read - perhaps that could form part of a resolution.

As I've found a method of publishing my writing that works for me, I can't see me stopping any time soon. The other day I was asked if I set myself daily writing targets and the simple answer is 'no'. I take about six months to write a full length novel which averages out at between 250 - 500 words a day, sometimes it is more, sometimes less. The point is that it fits comfortably with what I want to do.

I have read loads of blogs about writing and two people I keep going back to are Stephen Woodfin and Caleb Pirtle as they quite accurately reflect my feelings on writing. If you haven't tried them out have a look at Venture Galleries, well worth a visit. In a recent blog Stephen referred to words targets etc and he and Caleb have often said that you need to write lots of books. One of my friends, on the news that I was on the fifth chapter of my next project, was querying whether or not I was trying to write more stories than Agatha Christie. It is important to write lots because as with all things the more you do the more your skills develop. What Stephen also mentioned was that for the improvement to be continuous it is also necessary to read.

The above quote is from Harry Potter and it is something I have been described as being, in the way that I've finished the last two Steele novels Castled and Earth plc as I've left questions unanswered. I think that this cliffhanger type of ending has come from the confidence I feel in my writing, an increase in self-belief. This can only became firmly embedded with practice. J K Rowling has branched out into crime novels under the name Robert Galbraith. She has written The Cuckoo Calling and The Silkworm and I can recommend them both. Obviously having honed her skills on the Potter series has given her the confidence and skill to change genre and quite successfully.

If you write then continue to do so and enjoy the dynamism of the process the more you produce.

God Bless