This is a late post (see the Late Gig Review series for no explanations, but perhaps a little remorse) but a pretty significant milestone for me. You see, a couple of weeks ago now, following an unexpected burst of focus, I finished the draft of The Book (84,162). I suspect one of the reasons I have only just got round to writing this post, amongst other things, is that I’ve been waiting for the bit when someone tells me I haven’t really finished. Or I get given a book which matches mine too closely for me to avoid accusations of plagiarism Or maybe Dropbox’s servers got wiped out by nihilist mutant cockroaches with a grudge against aspiring writers born of their own failed attempts to secure a publisher. You know, stuff like that.
Whatever though, it has been drafted. Indeed the girlfriend and brother are both amidst the flappy, unedited and hopefully satisfying rawness of the final three-quarters. Comments are already forthcoming, and confirming my own suspicions about which bits need work. Much more importantly, I can finally talk to someone about what happens in it!
This is one of the things that I haven’t read in the posts advising first-time novelists. There were reams of good advice about motivation, planning and persistence, but I didn’t find a single one that said: ‘Prepare to be full of intense frustration because you can’t talk to people about it without spoiling it for them, and corrupting your feedback. You want to talk to people about it? Back to the keyboard, hopeful monkey…’
So, fellow aspirants, I feel your pain. Think of me when you get strange looks from your nearest and dearest because they’re half way through reading it, you’ve asked them a question and all you can say to their answer is, ‘Yes, but- Wait, I can’t tell you that. Or that. Or that… Gah, just finish the damn thing already will you?!’ They’ve put up with you this far, they’re probably used to it by now.
As for me and my words? Well any child of the 1980s knows that level 1 is just the tease. Level 2 (the edit) will be that bit harder. As for the boss stage (find an agent/publisher), well let’s hope there’s a big red visual prompt that tells me exactly what to do when I get there.