It’s been a month since I last mentioned my little book, the pinnacle of my childhood dreams and focus of my leisure time. I have decided to make it my policy to refer to it at fairly regular intervals. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, as one of the main eaters up of my day, it makes sense to mention it from time to time in this chronicle of my life. But secondly and crucially, if I keep telling people about it, it makes it much more difficult for me to abandon it when the going gets tough. Whilst I am by nature a completer/finisher, I am much more likely to live up to my title if the alternative is having to admit that I didn’t complete or finish. Too much pride to give up when everyone knows what I’m up to.
So, now you understand my somewhat warped reasoning, on to the task in hand. Well, so far so good. After taking the wherewithal to write with me to France, I spent a peaceful hour or so each morning typing away before breakfast as the warm sun leisurely popped its head above the surrounding trees. This boost in productivity meant that I managed to get to the end of my story except for writing the actual conclusion which, as yet, alludes me.
So now I have returned to the beginning to tackle draft two. It’s about six months or so since I started with my handful of characters and bare idea of a plot. In that time, my characters have developed, moved on from where they began. I have had more chance to see how they speak, how they think, how they respond to those around them. So going back to the beginning is allowing me to flesh out the early descriptions, give more back story which hopefully will help explain to the reader why they are as they are. Now that I know what makes them tick, it’s easier to think of reasons why they tick that way.
Also, the story has changed. Ideas that featured towards the beginning of the first draft were abandoned later on when they did fit with what came after. Suggestions have been left undeveloped, little roads to nowhere in the text. Whole scenes, which were designed to lead the reader in a particular direction, are now redundant and so have to be cut or altered to fit where the story actually went. Minor characters have gained and lost partners or children where necessary for the purposes of the plot and all those inconsistencies need fixing.
Despite all this chopping and changing, my four main personalities remain fundamentally as I originally imagined them and for this I am grateful. It gives me the foundations that I need to build everything else and without them I would be lost with nowhere to go.
So on we march. I am certainly not writing a Booker prize winner, more a gentle page turner but that’s a good place to start. My confidence in my own abilities ebbs and flows with each day that passes. Last night I dreamt that a friend had written a book, found a publisher and had it in the shops whilst I had been penning draft one. And it was a brilliant book. I was very relieved to wake and realise that it wasn’t true, delighted that my nocturnal inadequacies were not based on truth.
So there you have it. It still has no title, by the way. The front sheet just says “My Unnamed Book.” Still, there’s no rush. I can’t imagine that I’ll be finished any time soon.