Writing on writing

The End, again

51046428-a-professional-writer-is-an-amateur-who-didnt-quit

Another happy ending!

This morning I reached another milestone in my writing: my rewrite is complete. Next step is sending it off to some people!

I have no illusions. Just on sheer numbers alone, I’d have to be incredibly lucky to have anyone pick up my novel. I’m so, so happy with how the re-write has gone, the new draft is so much tighter and pacier than it was. This gives me confidence that I might actually have some craft, but this is a voracious and punishing industry. This book that I have sweated for 5 years now may never go anywhere.

In case you’re interested, this is what it looks like.

20160220_161823
The as-yet unpublished masterpiece

The yellow file box contains my research and plotting, including found objects and mementos from places that inspired settings or characters. I have several dozen timelines and plot diagrams and a bunch of random pieces I wrote as character development.

Six of the spiral-bound notebooks contain the first draft, three contain notes from the different stages of the re-write, including new writing. There’s three printed copies of the manuscript: two of the drafts printed doubled sided and a proof version, printed 4-up. The blue folder contains my notes on the re-structure between draft 2 & 3.

I threw out the butcher’s paper that I’d meticulously arranged the whole novel on scene-by-scene, one of my less successful attempts at re-structuring. I spent time playing with it for about 3 months, then when I started typing it up I got 5 chapters in and realised it wasn’t working. Those were fun times (not).

I also have digital assets: an Evernote notebook of research, a Pinterest mood board that captures certain characters and settings, two versions on the structure on the Index Card app for iPad, plus a bunch of word documents: synopses, query letters and so on.

I’ve carted it across the world: UK, UAE, Australia and I’ve never really tired of it, but I’m glad to put it away for a bit now. I’m champing at the bit to get onto my next project. I thought my next novel would be a dystopian future/revenge fantasy thriller, there was an idea I was in love with for months. The process of editing this one has made me realise how long I’ll need to live with the characters and I really wasn’t up for such a bleak scenario. My new idea is much lighter, with more scope for humour and fun. I’m excited to get started.

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