Saturday, March 17, 2018

Writing and weather

It's come to a pretty pass when you find yourself mending socks in the daytime. And when was the last time you turned a collar? No, I can't remember either. It's been raining a lot this week, and I've been waiting for my writer friend Chrissie to finish reading and critiquing my work-in-progress. 

My other two readers enjoyed it, though one had misgivings about the beginning. Feedback from a writer is different. It's not just about whether she enjoyed reading it, she's been through the text line by line, marking things that need attention or need deleting, tightening things up, questioning things - basically, doing everything a good editor does. And she's been looking at the structure. 

She has doubts about the structure, but as the other two readers did not have a problem with it, I'm sticking with it. However, the beginning of the novel isn't working and needs attention. Both she and I find writing the first twenty pages of a novel hard. You have to establish the theme, the tone, introduce the characters, launch the story and hook the reader. When the structure is unusual it makes it ten times harder.

Meanwhile, I am supposed to be going to London at teatime on the train. I've always wanted to go to Ronnie Scott's jazz club and someone invited me to go tomorrow for a Sunday lunchtime gig. Whoopee!  

Except not whoopee. The Met office has given amber warnings of snow and ice in the Peak District where we live, and also in London, and though I might be able to get down to London today, getting home tomorrow looks decidedly iffy. Even if the train reaches my local station in the evening, Dave won't be able to drive through drifts to pick me up. And I need to be in Bakewell for a meeting on Monday morning. It's all too uncertain, and I am gutted.

But at least I have the book to work on while we're sheltering from the weather. I love making all the tiny tweaks to the text because I know it's making it sharper and better. The problem of the beginning will need a lot of mulling and composting and lying awake in the early morning waiting for the solution to come to me.

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