For the past couple of months I’ve had my head buried in Word as I worked on finishing my second book. As the end approached I got more and more tunnel visioned and consequently my updates here have been sporadic to say the least.
Well today I sent the finished opus off to my agent. Changes have been made, characters further developed and endings tweaked until I was as happy as I was ever going to be. I’m not saying that I will never write another word in that particular manuscript – there may be changes suggested along the way from agent or, eventually a publisher – but I am now stepping away and saying enough.
It’s been a long journey with this particular book. The opposite experience to last summers frenzy to get Devil in the Red Dress finished so that the book could be released as soon as possible after the sentencing in the trial. The new book is not a trial book. It’s fiction, fantasy fiction at that.
It comes from an idea that had it’s seeds in my childhood. The manuscript I sent to my agent today might have had very little in common with the story I wrote on my mum’s manual typewriter at the kitchen table one winter when I was about 11, but that was the genesis. One or two of the characters share names with the earlier attempt, a few bear a passing physical resemblance but the story is a totally different animal.
I’m happy with my finished draft. I think it can stand up on it’s own but ultimately it doesn’t matter what I think. From now on it’s on it’s own. I’ll be open to suggestions with any last minute tweaks but the story I wanted to write has now been written and it’s time to start something new.
For the past couple of chapters in the edit I’ve been thinking ahead to what comes next. This book will have a sequel, a few chapters of a preliminary draft already exist. Then there’s the world that this blog and Devil belong to. Mainly concerned with crime and courts.
The courts are back in a couple of weeks and I’ll need to check the diary and plan what to do next. I’ve also started thinking about a follow up to Devil but that’s a story for another day.
One thing I’ve learnt about writing over the past year or more is that it never stops. You’re either writing something or you’re thinking about writing something. There is no time when a little part of your brain isn’t looking and noticing and filing away anything that might be useful. This is just the way the mind works in this kind of job, it’s a nervous tick, a habit you get into.
I’ll miss the characters I’ve spent the summer with. They were my first, old friends who I know as well or better than people I see on a regular basis. I’ll never work with them in the same way again and that’s a little sad but I’m excited about what comes next.
It’s been a long time since I’ve explored the thrill of the blank page. I’m looking forward to the blocking and the researching and the roughing that must all come before I’m back to the polishing.
So tomorrow I’ll get up and start that something completely different. The notebooks will be unearthed from their summer resting places and I’ll be back dealing with reality. There’s a couple of weeks to get organised before the courts are back and I’m raring to go.
So I’ll be writing here more regularly from now on. The summer’s over and normal service has been resumed!