You know that feeling, when you’ve just finished reading a book and the characters are still rattling around your head? Or the plot holes are making swiss cheese of your afterglow? Or even that you’re desperate to re-immerse yourself in the world of the characters you’ve just spent time with?
Well, imagine all of that and add in a dollop of nervous anticipation. Cue drum roll… I’ve just completed the second draft of Scars & Stripes – my transatlantic comic tragedy about a year in the US, in the late eighties. It’s been a bit of a revelation, coming as it does from the adulterated wellspring of my experience and my imagination combined. The composite characters are all on stage now and the key scenes set in cement. (But I still have my chisel at the ready, just in case.)
What comes next, of course, is a deeper edit. That and referring back to my notes about what I feel I can and can’t say, even in fiction. If any brave soul out there wants to read any sample chapters – Sonia, you know who you are – I now have the set.
It’s a less funny novel than I’d anticipated. In several places it’s actually quite sad. I like that, though. Writing and reading the manuscript has put me back in touch with something useful – painful once and poignant now. But definitely useful. It feels as if I can breathe a little easier.
One of the interesting things about the process of writing, especially when one draws upon personal experience (and let’s face it, all writers do that to some extent) is the individual approach that each writer takes.
I’m pleased to say that fellow novelist, Sinclair Macleod, author of The Reluctant Detective and The Good Girl will be joining me for a blog interview in the not too distant future. I hope to get a better appreciation for his method of writing, delve into his psyche and generally pick his brains for tips and insights.