I’m in the middle of the first round of self-edits for my fourth novel and, despite people telling me it gets easier, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, the process has changed in the way that I write (I did the first draft in a month instead of the usual three (ish) and I’m happy with that, but I still hold the same doubts and worries and wondering if I can do it again.
My two previous books have been pretty successful and so there’s a pressure on to better, or at least equal, them, and I struggle with that niggling away at the back of my brain. Constantly. I don’t want to let down those readers who are looking forward to the next in the series and have become invested in Paterson & Clocks as people.
Last night, as I sat glued to the screen, cutting bits out there, tightening sentences here, it suddenly dawned on me that I was probably overthinking things. When I started my first book, I wrote it for myself. It was the kind of book I wanted to read. I wanted my characters to reflect real life, to show real policemen under pressure, they swear, they dig each other out, they make inappropriate quips, they fight amongst themselves, they bitch, all the things that the more mainstream authors tend to omit, and villains who do some truly awful things.
Whether that will harm me in the long term remains to be seen but I decided that that was what I was going to keep on doing-write the kind of book I wanted to read. It’s all I know how to do.
And whilst I was procrastinating instead of writing (let’s call it research-it makes me feel better) I came across an article about the author of ‘The Danish Girl’ and his struggles to write.
The struggle continues…
I listened to a BBC podcast with Miles Jupp the other day and he was talking about a book called Plotto.
I must admit, I hadn’t heard of this until the other day. Plotto is a book that came out way, way back in the day and it allegedly contains every plot known to man (and a few more). I may have to get it… just because. If any of you writers have read it or better yet, used it, I’d be interested to hear what you thought of it.
You can have a listen to Miles Jupp’s podcast here. Val McDermid’s on there too.
Late last month I set myself the task of writing the first draft of my fourth book to feature Paterson & Clocks in a month. Yep. 31 days. And, I did it. Let me tell you a bit about it.
Normally when I write a book it takes roughly three months for the first draft to be done. Once I’ve completed it, I will usually take a break for a week and then pick it up again. From there, I will tweak it about, re-structure it, alter, add or delete words, sentences and even paragraphs (I have been known to throw out a whole chapter) in the pursuit of a better, stronger, story. This second phase can take up to three months and so, from start to finish, a book normally takes me six months. By then, I’m sick of the sight of it. Literally.
Somehow, and I have no idea how, I got it into my head that I was being lazy. If I wrote 1500 words a day, I considered that a bloody good day’s work. Really? I’m retired and I retired early so I could write. I can do better than that.
I needed to rethink my working day and so I set myself the task of writing 3000 words a day for 31 days. I didn’t always succeed and I did sneak a few ‘rest’ days in there (I buggered off to Croatia for a week), but I did end up with a 75,000-word story. It’s bare bones though and having read through some it, I’ve cringed more than once. But, it is a draft and I have to keep reminding myself that a draft is a long way from the finished product. What I have now will morph into something that is, at its heart, the same story, but will feel a whole lot different when I’m done.
And, in keeping with my new ‘can-do’ attitude, I’m going to get it edited and ready for submission in two months. Yep. By Christmas this year, book 4 will be submitted for editing and will hopefully be out in January 2019.
We shall see (I’m also editing book #3 don’t forget)
Book #3 has returned from the editor. There’s a fair bit to check over and she has cut a considerable number of words but from what I’ve seen so far, the book is all the stronger for it.
I’ve always found it somewhat daunting when it comes back because you send it in thinking you’ve done a pretty decent job of self-editing and then when I go through her edits side-by-side with my submission document, I feel pretty silly. I’m just grateful that I have another set of highly-trained eyes going over it and cutting out all the unnecessary crap that I thought, first time around, was brilliant and necessary! What do I know?
Soon as I’m done, back it goes to have a cover and blurb attached and with a bit of luck and a following wind (plus getting it fitted into Joffe’s schedule) it will be released sometime early/mid November.
Found a really good website earlier today which I thought I would share with you. London Crime is a site dedicated to all things crime in, well…London. There’s a good selection of books, fiction and Non, DVD’s and an A-Z of nefarious scoundrels throughout history and I’ve found a few more authors to read, too. Be aware that this site doesn’t glamourise crime and the information within it is of a historical nature. It’s well worth having a look at.
There are some links on the site to places worth visiting. One of which is ‘The Clink’, the prison that gave its name to the expression ‘in the Clink’. I visited this place gawd knows how many years ago now when I worked in the area. They had some interesting exhibits on display which would have today’s liberals reaching for their smelling salts and taking to their beds.
One was a boot made of lead which they would place the prisoner’s foot into. Obviously, this wasn’t a Cinderella-type experience. The nasty gaolers would shove a load of wooden wedges in the back of the boot and force the foot forward. Then, when things got a bit tight, they would hammer them in with the result that the foot broke in all sorts of places – toes, ankles, whatever. This was also done to the kiddiewinks who had the cheek to nick an apple or orange (assuming, of course, the gallows was a bit busy that day) On a bad day, they would pour molten metal into it…
They also had a metal contraption that fitted over the head of females with a metal tongue that protruded backwards and into the woman’s mouth. This had a load of tiny spikes on it that would slash the tongue to ribbons if the woman had the cheek to say anything.
Who reckons it’s easier today, eh?
Just loved this and had to share it.
Book 3 in the continuing saga of Paterson and Clocks is finished and has been submitted to Joffe for their consideration. Although I have a contract, I’m not taking anything for granted. They could always say no. Or do it again…
Hopefully, I’ll hear soon and I’ll post here with their answer.