8 February 2021 - Any excuse!
'So where is the novel about newly pregnant bar worker Lucy?' you ask.
I have plenty of excuses including Sally the cat taking control of the keyboard! The reality is editing the first draft has proved much more difficult than expected. One reader of the debut novel At Reception complained some of the sentences were too long. When the copy editor went through it before publication semi-colons popped up everywhere to break up sentences. I removed them and where needed inserted commas. Nevertheless I am aware of my long sentences. With the novel about Lucy the same problem has occurred. Only it's not just that. At Reception was written in extreme first person. The Lucy novel is more traditional in structure and that makes splitting up long sentences more complex. So the editing process is taking an age. I can only work for about one and a half to two hours at a time. After that my eyes and brain complain!
But there is something else. I write in pieces that I assemble together. I don't start at the beginning and see where it goes. Integrating some of the sections is proving a challenge. This particularly applies to back stories. The novel is set in a bar. I'm trying to replicate the real life experience of going into a neighbourhood bar for the first time. I want the reader, like Lucy, to form their own view of the other customers. Not knowing anybody there's the first impression. Your opinion changes with more information. It could be their behaviour or gossip from other people. Eventually you might get to speak to the person. Then comes the surprise element that you experience when really getting to know someone. The backstories are intended to recreate the same experience for the reader. In the Lucy novel the personalities of her customers gradually unfold. Their backstories are intended to bring depth and sudden insight into each character. The placing of these interventions is proving a challenge!
There is a further lesson for a new writer. The more you write the better you should be at it. A full length novel can take a year (or longer) to write. The sections you wrote early in the process may not be to the same standard as more recent ones. In my case they are of a different style. Writers evolve in the same way a novel does. This leads to not just typos but the need for significant rewriting. Fortunately most of the novel is conversational so this mainly applies to the bits in between.
I anticipate the novel will be finished by late summer. As I said above there are lots of excuses I can come up with and maybe I will need to find more!!