I Love Writing, But…

…you know what I hate?

Well, dialogue. I hate dialogue, when you have to be constantly on the alert for the bits in the middle of the conversation where you “zoom out the camera” so you don’t have talking-head syndrome. Or when the dialoguing characters get lost and you have to pull them back to where they’re supposed to be doing. Not to mention where you put the commas if you’re breaking up a sentence to say “he said”, “she said”, or “replied” or “answered” or whichever damn verb.

And I love writing, but sometimes description is a pain. Like Margaret Atwood said, somebody looks at you like an injured animal. But what sort of animal, what sort of injury? And you have to think, and then you have to go and look up species of animals in wikipedia and whether they’re behaving properly for the season in question and and and…

And I love writing, but I could really do without the bits you have to fill in. You know, when you need to explain something and you haven’t filled it in properly and have to go back and do it before you can get to the meaty bit? And how to do that without taking too long so the reader gets bored and wanders off and makes a cup of tea and you’ve lost her, lost her for good.

And I love writing, but I hate trying to sort out the narrator. I mean, you try limited third person, but then realise you need to get something from the point of view of person Y which is not narrator person X so you try omniscient and then get that thing E.M. Forster warned about where the writer degenerates into a showman. So you have first person and immediately the page is littered with “I, I, I” which you can only sort out by having more passive voice to limit the perpendicular pronoun, but passive voice is YUCK.

But still, I love writing, if it weren’t for constantly having to sort out the plot. Now if I wrote literary fiction I wouldn’t have to worry about such superfluous nonsense, I would make like Milan Kundera, but wait, even he had a storyline to stick to. Plotting is a beeyotch because plots tend to come with more holes than a secondary boreen in Lisnaskee and half your time is spent filling the damn things up and even then not knowing if you’ve managed to do it.

But I do love writing. Apart from all that.

2 thoughts on “I Love Writing, But…

  1. I try to avoid verbs of reported speech completely, they always clank. If there are just two people involved then you will follow the back-and-forth naturally – as long as there’s never any doubt about who spoke first. Speaker actions help if there’s any risk of ambiguity.

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