As you might remember from my previous post, since Pitch Perfect I’ve been struggling a little with the rewriting of the novel. Bits of the original version were good but the plot wasn’t satisfactory and so I came up with a new one – which I talked about at Pitch Perfect – and now I’m at the stage of dismantling Novel 1.1 and rewriting it with a stronger structure in the hope that Novel 1.2 will be better. And hopefully worth publishing. I tknow my characters and here’s lots of 1.1 that can be repurposed, albeit with some rewriting so it’s not like starting from scratch. I tell myself that, but I’m not sure it makes it less daunting.
I’ve been dickering about with the first couple of chapters – part of the book that needs the most restructuring – for a month or two but it’s been like wading through treacle with endless rewriting and deleting and muttering and the odd tear of frustration. And I’ve been getting sidetracked with all sorts of displacement activity and we had family to stay and other work has been taking up time. So I’ve been hiding from my ms rather.
Two things happened though. Firstly I met the lovely Mark Leggatt for coffee. A contender a couple of years ago at Pitch Perfect, his first book, Names of the Dead (which I must read), has been publishing by Fledgling Press and is doing really well. As well as talking about fountain pens and notebooks – you always bond with someone when you recognise that they’re writing with Mont Blanc Bordeaux ink – we also talked about my feeling of stuck and to be frank I got my arse kicked a bit. There are writers and there are people who talk about writing and I’m in danger of falling into the second category.
The second breakthrough was that I had a revelation about the plot and effectively cut the first three chapters which were feeling a bit episodic. Now, things get going a lot faster and I’m writing with much more energy and enthusiasm.
I did some replanning and started writing chapter 1 last week. I’ve now done two chapters and they’re not bad – better than a first draft although I’ll obviously be gussieing them up later. I’m on 6k words and the plan is to have at least 20k of similarly clean text by Hogmanay.
Anyway, enough for now – I have a clear(ish) day and I’m going to make a coffee, turn on Freedom and get my head down.
And just a reminder, my advent calendar of books begins tomorrow – read more here and do join in as the month goes on.