07 January 2009

Almost a perfect day

Yesterday was an almost perfect day for me. It was good exercise-wise (which I'm usually not so good at, but which we, as writers, do need to think about because writing is such a sedentary job), I had fun, and I was productive! What more can you ask for?

I started out by taking my dogs for a long walk (or amble really) along the beach front (in an off-lead area), so they had lots of swims and socialising. It was just a tad too warm for my liking, which is why we went early. I came home and did some emails and stuff, rang a few people (all business related) and then took one of my kids bowling. The other hadn't struggled up yet (though it was now lunch time). We won one game each (we're both pretty hopeless), so it was nice and even.

Came home and got to work on my novel and spent a very productive couple of hours going through reader comments. The major thing I did was trim a three and a half page scene down to two and a quarter pages, and it was much better for the cut. I have a tendency to have my characters gab too much, so it's largely a matter of seeing what dialogue I can cut -- thinking about why I have included each piece of dialogue. Is it there because it's advancing the plot or adding to character? Is it showing character motivations or character interactions? Is it giving a feeling of a larger world? Is it adding to atmosphere or helping set the tone? Is it doing more than one thing?

After getting off to a false start where I took out one slab and then realised it was essential that I keep that, I put it back in and thought some more and found something less essential. I'll often show a lot of the conflict through the dialogue, but it can't be pointless bickering -- the conflict has to escalate. Anyway, I felt it was all very successful: the scene is zippier because it's more focused and still has plenty of dialogue to keep it moving.

Then I cooked dinner (something easy), went for a swim, stewed a whole lot of apricots and watched some television with the kids.

We're currently ploughing through "Spooks" and enjoying it immensely, which was a great way to wind down at the end of the day.

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