Monday, February 04, 2013

The end is nigh

This may be rather a short post. I have reached the end of my new book – reached the end, you will notice, not finished it. My deadline is the end of the month and I now have to go right back to the beginning again and work through it in time to get it to my agent, giving her time to tear it to pieces and send it back, giving me time to put it back together and still not incur the wrath of my editor for submitting late.

It's always a huge relief to get to the denouement and find that you haven't set a puzzle for your readers so complex that you can't solve it either. My heart bled for a favourite writer – very well-known and highly successful – whose acknowledgements included heartfelt thanks to her editors for their help with chapter 25. And indeed, when you reached chapter 25 it was clear that the author had painted herself into a corner and the solution did indeed read as if it had been devised by a committee. Not her finest hour!

I suppose what I've written might be called a first draft, but mercifully the task ahead of me isn't writing the whole thing again.(I hope.) I sort of nit-pick as I go along, going back to revise previous chapters as the story  evolves because I can't work on with a clear mind if I know there are gaping holes in the narrative. I think it goes back to knitting – leave a dropped stitch and the whole thing unravels.

The theory is that working through it again  is a minor matter of ironing out a few glitches. That's the theory. I'm now about to find out whether it's worked this time!


Hannah Dennison said...

Bravo Aline! The first draft is brutal. For me it's the hardest part of writing ... I think our writing process is similar. I go a few steps forwards and then one back and move along at a snails pace. At the end of the first draft I'm pretty confident about what needs to be done- it's usually adding layers and fixing inconsistencies -- that part I love.

j welling said...

Yeeeeaaaa (Muppet wave). Lovely news.

Aline Templeton said...

I do so agree, Hannah - just wish I'd been organised enough to have time to enjoy it.

And thanks, J Welling!

Frankie Y. Bailey said...


And I agree with Hannah. The first draft is brutal. Painful.

I think I share a writing process with the two of you. I'd love to be able to just race through the first draft and get it all down in the way people who do that say they can. But I do need to edit and rewrite until it begins to make sense. Then I go on to the end.

Charlotte Hinger said...

I'm in the middle of an extensive re-write. My editor found a lot of room for improvement, but worse, she was entirely right! Saved once again.

Aline Templeton said...

The only thing worse than unjustified criticism is criticism that is completely justified! Good luck, Charlotte.