Reading is something that has changed for me in the last couple of years.
Whilst in secondary school, I had no problem devouring books. I literally read several in a week. My love for books stems from moving house back in 2005. I went from being a social little girl, to an introvert. Books were my only solace – so I read as many as I could.
In secondary school, the friends I made were through books (although not literally). We discussed them, swapped them, and even tried our hand at writing one (which I will never show to the world because it is simply that awful).
By the time college rolled around, my relationship with books changed. I can’t really put my finger on it; but if I had to try, I would probably point at the increase of work. It certainly is the reason why I do not read as much now.
I have, somehow, conditioned myself. Reading any book that I like the sound of is reading for pleasure. This is actually quite troublesome when doing a Creative Writing degree. A lot of the material we are expected to read are novels. Novels that a few years ago I would have read in less than a day. Now? I took three weeks to read a book that I actually quite enjoyed.
Currently I am trying to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. So far I have found the book to be beyond my expectation, however the style of writing drags. As much as I love the sassy Elizabeth Bennet, Austen has the worse narrator voice I have ever come across.
And if I’m being completely honest with you, the only reason why I am reading Pride and Prejudice is because I recently saw the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies… And bought the book version. I have never read nor seen Pride and Prejudice until the Zombie invaded, and I was curious to see how it has been adapted.
At the moment I have a sort of fascination with films adapted/loosely based on books. It partially stems from the module Adaptation (I’m sorry, I’m not awarding points if you can guess what we study in this module..) which I have take this year.
To be quite frank with you, my lecturer is not great. She tries, but it’s her first year teaching at my university after transferring. The subject has never been taught before… And she really does not know what she’s doing. The coursework has changed several million times, the material that we have to read has changed just as many, and the module handbook pretty much went out the window the moment she handed it to us – which, I would like to add, was several weeks into the course.
But I won’t make this post about her… It would take too long, and really you have to meet her to understand my frustration.
So I will move on.
Reading has changed for me; but so has writing. Whilst I still have a lot to learn, I’ve improved vastly since starting my degree. I realize that perfection does not happen in the first draft (which is certainly ironic as all these daily posts are pretty much first drafts). In fact, perfection rarely happens. You can publish your book and have great success, but you’ll have that niggling voice in the back of your mind telling you you could have made it better.
I’ve learned that it really does make the difference when you show your character rather than state what they are feeling. There’s a power behind a clenched fist, a frown, a smirk. If you throw out ‘they were angry’, ‘they were confused’, or whatever, you’re stating that the audience should just trust you – which they rarely ever do. The only time stating is a positive is when you write in first person. Then stating can prove your character to be unreliable, or they could misread a situation.
Honestly, I could go all day with writing tips I’ve learned. But I’m starting to bore even myself, so I’ll leave it there for today.