Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Harper Lee

Harper Lee is to publish a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird.

I'm afraid I can't help thinking it's a bad idea. It's never going to create the same resonance as the original. It can only detract from it. I think we all have our own ideas of what kind of woman Scout Finch would have turned into. I think it's best left like that.

That said, I'll still buy it and read it...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

First draft complete

Thanks to the delights of on-demand printing, for £5 I've just ordered a printed copy of the first draft of my novel for correcting. It's cheaper than I could get it printed at home...

So. It's been a busy month. Since 2nd January, I've written 51,221 words of the novel, plus 4656 words of other material, plus comprehensive re-writing of 16,000 words of existing material.

The first draft weighs in at 71,500 words. I expect the second draft will go up to around the 100,000 word mark and the third version will slim back down to around 90,000 words. I've had these ideas, and various versions of bits of them, in my head for the past nine years, but it is remarkable how they've solidified in the past two months when I've written the vast bulk of the 71,500 words. I can look at the characters in the early exchanges and see that they've totally shifted by the end. I now know they wouldn't act in those ways or say those things.

Monday, January 19, 2015

An update

It’s been a while again. I’ve been busy. Nano month came and went. I managed 20,000, but couldn’t make it all the way through. I’ve never been good at doing things to order and, if I wasn’t ready to write it, it wouldn't be written.

January, though, has been phenomenally productive. In the past 17 days I’ve written 31,347 words. My novel now stands at 55,000 words. More importantly, I now feel that it’s going somewhere. Until now I’ve been unconvinced, almost going through the motions. Now it feels real. It’s nothing like ready, of course, but what I’m writing now is a good first draft and I feel it’s working.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post. That's all very well, but there was a more significant happening for me today. I killed two of my characters. These two men have been in my head for nine years now and I've chatted with them pretty much every day in that time. They first emerged in a very strange little story I wrote in Alex Keegan’s Boot Camp. The story itself was virtually a verbatim account of a dream I had had, and these two characters emerged, fully formed from it. For a long time, though, they were (intentionally) two-dimensional. The original story was essentially a cartoon and that’s how they were drawn. That story has haunted me ever since. It’s been at the centre of pretty much all the fiction I've produced in the past few years. The central character, Jack, has changed dramatically since the initial story but Joss’n’Jules, my two characters, have remained largely constant.

I’ve known for several months how they were going to die. That came to me in a dream, too, as it happens. It’s not the case, by the way, that I dream a lot of my storylines. In fact, I can only think of these two instances and one other, which will also feature in the novel somewhere, although I’m not sure where yet.

Anyway, I’ve known how they would die for some time but I’ve been putting off writing it. Now I have. It was hard. I hated it. Soppy old git, I know, but it changes things. I’ll never be able to think about them the same again. I won’t love them any less but they are different now. It’s ironic, of course, that these thoughts I’m struggling with are actually at the centre of Joss'n'Jules's entire presence in the novel. Joss will be laughing at me, Jules sympathising.

So I’m three-quarters of the way through this draft. I can’t wait to start rewriting it. The Jasmine Orchestra will play Clair de Lune.