Nine years ago, I think, I decided that I would write a book. I don’t remember the day exactly, but I suspect I would have been in England and that I had walked around a couple of bookshops, seens thousands of them for sale and decided that clearly it couldn’t be that hard, so I’d give it a go.
There were a few hurdles to overcome, I don’t read fiction or watch films so writing fiction was going to be difficult, I don’t know anything factual well enough to write a book about it, I had quite a demanding job at that time which didn’t leave me time to do a lot else, but notwithstanding, I’m nothing if not stupid enough to think I can do things like this, so I sat down in front of my laptop and started to write.
Surprisingly I had an idea almost straight away, something that was topical. I wrote. A lot. Within a short time, probably around three weeks I had 40,000 words of a basic story.
Disaster struck. My laptop broke, hard drive not recoverable, nothing backed up. Whilst I was gutted about my story I was absolutely devastated about losing some photos of me with my first granddaughter. The writing then, as happens so often in my life with a new passion, fell by the wayside.
Over the next few years I started to write it again. I had bursts of enthusiasm, I’d write for a week or two, sometimes the lost story, sometimes new projects. Finally, about a year ago I had six different books in various stages of composition, none of them more than 40,000 words in.
Then, an epiphany (ties nicely into yesterday’s post I thought) in work. Bored, fed up, I wrote a plaintive post on here basically whinging about how rubbish everything is and I received an electronic boot up the backside. I dusted off the most advanced manuscript, not the original one and wrote with a vengance. I’d reached an impasse before but as I started to write I found that ideas just flowed. I had no idea where I was going with certain things but they seemed to resolve themselves as my fingers sped along the keyboard.
Last night, around midnight north African time, I wrote the last words of my first completed novel. I know there are plot holes, in fact there is precious little plot there are so many holes, I know there are terrible timeline issues, I also know there are some scenes written twice, factual inaccuracies and some scenes that I will need to add for continuity, but last night I finished a novel.
Only, as all writers know, I haven’t finished at all. All I’ve done is put enough words into a document for me to allow myself to call it “my novel.” The great Stephen King now recommends a period of a few weeks, six I think he said, where I dont even look at it. I read something by another author, much less well known (cant remember his name even) saying that for a first novel it’s guaranteed to be rubbish so leave it for six months without so much as a peek, write a second novel then go back to the first one and rewrite it. Then it needs an edit. Then perhaps another edit. Then maybe a rewrite. Then Beta readers need to pore over it, then it needs another edit. Then a polish.
I may never get any further than where I am now, I may rewrite, I may self publish, I may send it for rejection by some agents, but at least I can now always say to myself I´ve written a novel. (Nobody ever said it had to be a published one).