There’s this idea that everyone has a book inside in them just waiting to break free and be published. I certainly thought this was true…but that was about 12 years ago!
That’s right. Way back in the mid-noughties, I had that mad idea that I had the skills to be able to throw a few words onto a page and a few pages later it would end up being the best-selling novel in the universe. After all, I’d written small sketches and very short plays for an OAP’s club. It couldn’t be tricky to entertain the masses. I’d done some directing and acting too so I knew motive and how to get inside a character’s head. Right?
So let’s consider the fact that however much I loved them to bits, the OAP’s really didn’t care that Slow White was an 80 year old former actress with an ill-fitting wig (I say it with fondness. I acted opposite her as the White Rabbit; timing impeccable!) so not the best judges, although they did applaud when they were told to.
OK, I can direct the senior ranks (plus a musical to my name with a mixed-age group), and I’ve been applauded for my interpretation of Fagin (note; if your hair-line is receding, never have clip in hair extensions, especially with small children around).
Back to the book. Move aside Morse, push off Poirot, beat it Banks, there’s a new DCI in town. Well there was. He lived, and is still sort of living, but after reaching an ‘excellent’ draft, my full-length novel needed to be edited, and it was – over and over and over, until I bit the bullet and paid a renowned editor to cast a ruthless eye over it last year. 38 pages of constructive criticism later I’m finally able to re-edit, which has resulted in adding 30,000 words, more characters and settings, and realising that police procedure is more complicated than I first thought. The common advice ‘Roy, it’s getting monotonous. You can’t just write ‘nothing much happened for a few days’ over and over in order to move it along…’ was too much to bear.
In conclusion, the (hopefully) final edit is almost ready (which probably means it’s not) and when it is finally published, my character will have aged so much from the first draft that he’ll be old enough to retire, but this is creative writing, I’m playing God, so anything can happen!