Friday, May 27, 2011

Does My Novel Need Saving?

Today I started reading a book that Julie gave me for my birthday back in March: 179 Ways to Save a Novel by Peter Selgin. She'd skimmed parts of it before buying it for me, and said that she thought I'd find at least some of it helpful. For a combination of reasons - and somewhat to Julie's disgust, I imagine - I didn't start looking at it until I'd finished the first draft of Game Over. For one thing, I didn't want to get distracted by a book on the craft itself while I was in the middle of writing, for fear that the result would be a mishmash of styles. I could've seen reading it before starting Game Over, but that would've required getting it for Christmas, I suppose. I was also a little skeptical about its usefulness to me, as I've taken university-level writing courses and been actively paying attention to what goes into creating fiction for several decades now. Plus I already had several other books on the go.

But today my curiousity got the better of me, and I cracked the book for the first time. It's - as the title suggests - 179 tips on how to create effective and entertaining fiction. I'm about 15% of the way in already, and am enjoying Mr Selgin's approach so far. I wouldn't say I'm having many revelations as of yet, though. It's more a case of reading an item, thinking, "Nope, I didn't fall into that trap" or "Yeah, I definitely had that in mind as I was writing," and feeling at least a little bit validated. Having said that, there have been a couple of places where I recognized something that I could've done better, and am now at least considering whether to fix them or not. So it could end up being time well spent.

Mostly, though, it's just fun seeing some of the examples of really bad writing that the author chose to include to illustrate various points!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really good post!