A Writer’s Life: 9th March 2009

I’ve completed the final draft of my current novel.

I shall rejoice for a heartbeat and then I will plunge back into its dark deep depths. To polish it.

Over the last few months I’ve read an enormous amount about the craft of forging fiction. I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way and I pause for a moment to tell you where I’m at so that it might help you too.

I hit a wall in December. The novel, T.S., is technically a difficult one and I was unhappy with the draft. I withdrew for a period and read as much as I could about fiction. I scrutinised the different opinions and then I removed the scum from the top.

And then I rewrote huge swathes of the novel to ensure the conflict was constantly rising and that the stakes grew from chapter to chapter. I wrote every day. I took my laptop everywhere, I plugged in my headphones and kept tapping away on the keyboard.

In the final draft I deleted almost 35,000 words. I currently have 75,000.

The scenes are lined up, the prose is good – but not perfect – and now comes the scalpel and the magnifying glass and the reading the text aloud. This is when I will polish it, shine it so bright they’ll be able to see it from the moon.

And of course, what I hope to do is to create the ‘uninterupted fictional dream‘. Will it be easy to do? The question doesn’t even matter to me.

ZHZ

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