It happened a couple of nights ago. It was quite sudden; no great fanfare. One moment I was scribbling away in my writing pad (admittedly I’d been scribbling for over an hour) and the next – at approximately midnight – I stopped and looked at the page. The End stared back at me. That is, The End of the first draft. But still an end of sorts.
It’s taken me years to crush, blend and refine my original Scars & Stripes notes. And the result is, frankly, surprising. The truly fictional scenes took on a life of their own and in some ways became deeper and more revealing. Those based loosely (and some a little too closely) on personal experience will require radical changes after the first of many read throughs.
There’s the familiar sense of a simultaneous high and low, of recognising that a milestone has been reached while at the same time being acutely aware of the distance still to be covered. For now, Scars & Stripes will be set to one side so that I’ll be able to look at it objectively. All I do know is that I’ll follow my writer friend Warren Stevenson’s suggestion and rewrite the whole thing in the third person.
The next step is trickier.
1. Re-edit thriller Standpoint as some of the feedback for sample material on www.youwriteon.com suggests the opening would benefit from tightening up.
2. Commence the second full edit of sequel thriller Line of Sight?
3. Go back to first novel Covenant and reduce it from a 142,000 word behemoth to something more manageable?
4. Start a new novel. At the moment, I’m torn between the third Thomas Bladen book, tentatively entitled False Positive or something a little different entitled The Caretaker, which might involve messrs. Bladen and O’Neill on the sidelines or even be the same book. But there’ll be no sign of Harold Pinter (with thanks to Linda Wright).
Ah, writing; never a dull moment!