We writers are strange beasts. It seems that as a species, we are far more liable to remember the negative than the positive. I knew I was a writer! (well, actually, no I didn't know - not for sure)
If you pop about the internet or read books about writing you're constantly exhorted on how to write right. All this information sometimes makes me quake in my boots. I keep discovering how I'm writing wrong.
The first sentence is the most important. My first sentence is fine - but is it strong enough? Does it make readers quiver with anticipation?Honestly? I doubt it. But there's more to a novel than the first sentence, isn't there? There's the first paragraph for one thing - not to mention all the ones that come after that.
Don't put your character in front of a mirror. Okay, I get this on one hand - but on the other hand, why on earth not? I've got an extremely vain character - she enjoys looking at herself. No she doesn't think about her luxuriant brown curls or her sparkling blue eyes, (who on earth describes themselves like that to themselves?) but she is pleased with her new dress. Who wouldn't look in the mirror?
Fast pace is good. Faster pace is better. Now I'm in trouble. My manuscript moves along, but not at breakneck speed. I'm not writing a thriller. I don't have shadowy men with silencers on their guns or my protagonist skiing down a sheer mountain face. (bless him, he'd break a leg - and he's not fond of heights) However, neither do I have characters sitting around discussing their latest recipes for tuna. (although that would probably have a market - damn) My characters are at a country house party in 1935 - not chasing a holy grail or saving the world from certain destruction.
These are just three. There are many, many, many more.
There are days when I'm convinced I'm doing everything wrong. And then, there are the days like the last few, when your kind comments about my blog posts make me think that perhaps I can write, and I might just know what I'm doing. This boost to my confidence has had me writing away and I honestly can see the end of the tunnel - or the top of the cliff - depending on your point of view.
I'm off to write. I'm sure I'm making mistakes, but at least I'm writing. Thanks so much for the virtual pats on the back. A little praise goes a long way.
From me to you: Thank you! You're all tremendous. Come for tea.