I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

And all's to do again*

On September 24 2011, at the end of a post about sloe gin and marmalade, I note I had written 1423 words of Blest Redeemer. Today I finished it with the mileometer reading 155,328 words. Let's say that I started BR on September 1. That would be 16 months at a rate of nearly 10,000 words a month, about 350 words a day. Meaningless to anyone who isn't aware of their writing rate but in journalism it's a key issue.

In 1955, using shorthand notes as a basis and writing for a weekly newspaper (ie, long, long articles), I would have expected to hammer out prose on my Remington at the rate of 1000 words/hour. Notice I say nothing about the quality. Then or now it wasn't/isn't for me to say.

Nor does the word "finished" mean very much. Apart from being 40,000 words longer than Risen on Wings and nearly 50,000 more than Gorgon Times, BR is far more ambitious - a literary word meaning sprawling. Large chunks have already been rewritten following recommendations by Joe but without his being able to see how it ends. There'll be much more rewriting to come, but at least the story is laid bare.

What's it about? Success, horrible suffering,  re-emergence. Secular redemption, the title taken from a CofE hymn: Our Blest Redeemer, 'ere he breathed. The hero is Judith.
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GRANDDAUGHTER Ysabelle's "young man" (who has contributed to Tone Deaf under the blogonym Cool Kid) is soccer mad. Technically that should mean a gulf the size of Grand Canyon between us but I found him a Christmas present that pleased us both; a tee-shirt bearing this rubric:

In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team. J-P Sartre.

Dispute it if you will

* Housman

7 comments:

marja-leena said...

I wonder how many words I've blogged in almost 9 years? Miniscule compared novel writing, of course.

Who's the creepy-eyed guy in the photo - Sartre, Housman?

Ellena said...

And here everything is complicated by the presence of a nasty cold with all it's trimmings.

Roderick Robinson said...

M-L: You learned arithmetic didn't you? Don't be an arithmetical wimp. Say three posts a week, some longish, but more often tending towards captions. So - don't be scared - come up with an average. Say 175 words a post, which is 500 words a week. That's 26,000 words a year. Multiplied by 9 and we get just short of a quarter of a million words.

Why did you dither? Because you're liberal arts, and people like you don't soil their mind and fingers with figures? Heck, I'm liberal arts too. But I pay for gas (diesel actually) and I order pints in pubs. Don't you? (Obviously not the pints) Or are you regularly swindled every time you meet a sharpie Arithmetic like painting has a pleasing symmetry. Get with it, M-L.

The pic is JPS. Looked uglier than you could imagine but pulled a lot of birds in his time, finding bed a convenient place for explaining existentialism. Even pulled the cleverest woman in France as his long-term squeeze.

Ellena: A perfect rejoinder given your affliction. But you should have taken those flu shots, you know. Reject Laurentian Shield superstitions, please. I can't afford to lose you; comments to TD are greatly reduced since the glory days.

Sir Hugh said...

I wonder if there is a link from Sartre’s football quote to his most times mate Camus who was a a keen footballer until he succumbed to TB.

Camus was once asked which he preferred, football or the theatre - Camus replied without hesitation “football”.

Julia said...

Is it more satisfying to know that the story is laid bare or that you have the fun of a rewrite ahead of you?

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: Everyone appears to accept that statement by Camus as the living truth; me, I think he was going for the youth vote.

Camus and football quotes are one of the great bores of the tee-shirt world. In fact his sentiments (though better dressed up) do not differ significantly from those of the yokels whom the BBC feels compelled to interview en route to wherever it is that Chelsea play when at home. Sartre's quote - which initially seems banal in the extreme - does hinge on one of soccer's eternal verities in that it is futile to assess players, and even more so teams, as if they played in a sporting vacuum. Sartre has been dead 32 years yet the pages and pages of soccer-crit which appear in national newspapers all seem to get along without any acknowledgement of what he said.

Julia: Once upon a time that was the case; the rule of thumb was that rewriting is so much easier than writing. But as one improves as a writer (understand I am not making any great claims on my own behalf) the distinction gets narrower. The problem seems to lie in the fact that rewriting is set about with all sorts of restrictions that did not exist during the first draft - a strange lack of elbow-room, if you like. Certainly I find myself using the other type of keyboard (ie, the one with octaves) as a desperate diversion while trying to re-shape some sentences and paras.

I refuse to believe you aren't aware of these restrictions.

Harold Nicholson, who used to be top lit-crit for The Observer (pre and post WW2) and who also wrote a tome-like biography of George V, for which he was knighted, talks in his diary (eminently readable I must admit) of having completed the MS and now facing the "delicious" task of tidying up things. I may have agreed with this carefully chosen adjective some years ago, but not now.

Joe Hyam said...

Edward III banned the playing of football (and other sports) not for the reasons that you might have done, but because it distracted able young men from practising archery, the long bow being an essential weapon in The Hundred Years War.