Holding Out For A Hero

Sorry that I haven’t managed to update the blog for a few weeks but I have had my head down, trying to finish my debut novel. You’ll not be surprised to know that I’m failing miserably.

I don’t think I realised what was involved in writing a book, well one that actually makes sense anyway, as it should all tie together at the end. Up till now, my stories have involved making up tales of a special magical wood for the kids when they were babies, and latterly a special magical accident or train delay for being home late for dinner. But those stories weren’t three hundred and forty pages long and full of characters with made up names and biographies and relatives and ideas and prejudices and bad habits and love interests and friendships and different hairstyles and ....... well you get the idea. There’s a lot to juggle, especially when you’re like I am and have no brain.

They say everyone has a book in them, but they also have wind and waste, and stuff like intestines in there too. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should show and share with anyone else.

I suppose everyone who has a go at this writing lark to see if they really do have a novel inside of them has to start with a list of characters, but mine was a bit complicated because I found out half way through that I’d given three people the same first name.  David!

I suppose I could have got away with a couple of Daves, but the wife of the local business man would have looked a bit silly with the name. I thought I’d called her Davina, but on reading it back my spellcheck had changed it.

“He looked at his wife Dave, and admired her dress,” probably wouldn’t get me an agent any time soon, now would it?

I got to page two hundred and fifity and found I’d forgotten one of the characters completely and had left him about to make some stupendous announcement one hundred pages earlier. I had also changed the age of another person three times, had moved someone’s house by about two postcodes without telling them, and I had killed off a character who then reappeared. I also had too many cups of tea being served.

So, thank God for computers and spell check. I can move paragraphs around, turn sentences on their head, and search for names or events at the touch of a button. Yet one of my favourite authors, Nelson de Mille, always writes in longhand which, as his book The Panther is over six hundred pages long, means his wrist muscles must be the size of a pregnant panda’s waist. Another author I admire, John Connolly, doesn’t plan at all. He just starts writing to see what comes out. Now that’s talent.

So, I guess I’m not going to be a good writer anytime soon, but it’s been lots of fun on the way to finishing this one. I’ve started to believe in the characters and I can see their faces, their homes, offices, clothes, everything. And now I’m on the last chapter or two and I’m already feeling bereft. What do I do next?

Well, the answer of course is I think I’ll write another one.

You see, for me it’s about the doing of it rather than whether it’s good or I’ll get it published, though I may share a few pages here on the blog and get your feedback. Then I’ll read your thoughts and probably cry.

By the way, it’s called No Evil, and it’s about......well, it’s about time I got back to it.