Saturday, January 27, 2018

Mental rammel part 2

I have news to report on the HERE WE ARE debate. My friend Liz, who does not have scientific leanings, and who is even more like Fortherington-Tomas than I am, 

'Hullo clouds, hullo sky'


loves the book

She likes it all, including the purple sumo wrestler, and all the other weird-coloured people, and she particularly likes the J.M.Barrie epigram in the front: 'Shall we make a new rule from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.'

If Liz, grandmother, retired headteacher, and doyenne of childrens' books likes it, then maybe I should be more forgiving about the weird-coloured people. (Oh, and all her grandchildren love the book too.) But, but, won't the author's son be disappointed when he gets older and realises there aren't any purple people?

The second part of this post is unrelated.

It occurred to me this week that re-writing a novel (which is what I'm doing at the moment) is a bit like sending a mail-order item back. When you buy something from a catalogue, you have the pleasure of choosing the item (we're talking about clothes here, as all other shopping is boring) then there is the excitement of its arrival in the post, the joy of unwrapping it and trying it on, and then if it isn't right there is disappointment, and the irritation of having to repack it and take it to the post office to return it. Then you have the satisfaction of getting your money back, and the fun of looking for another item with all the attendant hopefulness. You get another chance.

How is this like re-writing? First, you have the pleasure of writing the original draft. Then when you see it isn't working, it's dispiriting and daunting. But after you open up your mind, a whole world of exciting possibilities and amusing plot developments pop into your head. OK, I suppose it's only vaguely like catalogue shopping, but then this post is entitled Mental Rammel part 2.

Whatever (which is what seven year old Lux has just started saying).....I am having fun with the re-write. I told you I was like Fotherington-Tomas*, didn't I?

*Yes, Pete. The second name is spelt without an h.

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