Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Time to get on with it.

Back to work, whinge over. I've delivered book 2 - edited, read through a dozen times, tarted up and smoothed out. I'm sure it's still full of stuff I haven't seen or sorted, but someone's new eyes coming to it will find them.

Editing is so important. I'm sometimes sitting with other writers, and one will say: 'I never edit.' Well, you should. Even if you tidy up as you go along, even if every chapter and scene is plotted from the outset, when you look at the whole thing you need to go through and consider the reader. If they don't have your life experiences/sense of humour/values will they understand every line? If these characters are new to them, is there enough to make is easy to understand them? Do they know what you meant to say or are they dependant on what you actually said?

I'm doing a substantial re-write of book 3, too. More than an edit, I'm looking at whole threads which don't quite work, don't actually mesh together. Maybe I'll even lose a character or two, or make it less complex. As the final book of a whole trilogy, I'm trying to tie up a lot of loose threads, complete the journey of increasing numbers of characters. I've started by looking through the first six chapters and rearranged them into a much better order. Then I've printed them off and have worked through them, finding things that need to go in, changes that need to be made, backstory that can be managed better.

I'm also planning to go off to the Arvon centre in Devon on the 28th April to write some poetry. It might seem a bit strange that having spent so much time and effort (and having some success) in the arena of fiction that I might not bother with poetry, but I find poetry is the spring of inspiration where words are concerned. I'm more economical and precise with words in fiction when I've been writing poetry - and editing. Poetry IS editing. Even deciding to keep your first draft is a conscious decision. I can't wait, even when I'm terrified of going away for a week with strangers in the middle of nowhere... There's no internet, no phone, no nothing. Excellent.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Wrestling with motivation

Sometimes it all feels like every step is uphill. The book is out there in its paperback livery and doing OK, as far as I can tell. Not taking the High Street by storm, but selling. I did want to email everyone who bought it personally to say thank you, but once we got past the 1000 mark common sense starts to come in. I also wanted to thank everyone for writing reviews, which on the whole have been very lovely, and even the one person who reviewed it and didn't like it said it just wasn't their sort of thing, completely fair comment. But you can't do that. I'm so happy to be published, and I should be skipping, but real life is getting in the way at the moment.

I'm selling my much-loved house, largely because my husband's cancer diagnosis has made him want a fresh start somewhere else. But to do this we had to tidy up, sort out and de-clutter our house and now I'm showing strangers around. Some of them are less than complimentary. They are entitled to their point of view, of course, but can't they take a leaf out of the reviewer's book and understand it's a matter of taste? No, I don't have walls covered with trendy wallpaper with giant flowers, and I don't have laminate floors everywhere. I have no problem with people who do, but this is an old house. It just wouldn't go. I'm just hoping for a buyer soon, before I actually go crazy.

My husband is off to radiotherapy every day, having his pelvis microwaved or whatever they are doing, and being remarkably chilled about it. We follow all the side effects and discuss talk about everyday. But what we don't talk about is whether it will work. He's relentlessly positive about it, which I love, and need him to be otherwise he wouldn't do all the treatments. But it leaves me with my doubts, which rage through my nightmares every night. I'm actually going crazy.

I know other writers who believe if they could just sell a book and get published they would be happy - forever - but real life is so much bigger. Writing is my escape - I wrote before I got published and I will write afterwards too. But real life is hard to get away from at the moment. So I would like to sell my house, and move, and have the radiotherapy work. Please.