22 October 2016

Are You Still #Writing?

Chapters of  'Pilgrims of the Pool' in precis
That question has been asked of me three times this week. Considering that in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy I maintain the Celtic belief in the ‘power of three’, and one of my main characters adamantly refuses to believe in coincidence, perhaps it is time to show that the long-overdue final novel, Pilgrims of the Pool, is still breathing.

So here you have it, the proof>>>

This is my ‘chapters completed’ list, each precis fixed with Blu-tack to my office door for an at-a-glance structural flow. That’s why each is topped with a colour, signifying one of the three storyline viewpoints [you can’t say I didn’t mention the trilogy’s thing about threes]. 

I also use it to ensure Time has some sort of wavy leading edge: X has to happen before Y mentions it, sort of thing. The two lonesome chapters at the bottom of column three show where I have written ahead of this.

When the first novel was released, a Goodreads' subscriber soundly lambasted me, and other writers, for not waiting until all novels in a series were finished before releasing them. At the time I was astounded, but now I smile wryly and don’t bite. It merely portrays the gulf that still remains between readers and how a book is written.

Sure, there are writers who can produce a full-length novel in 4-6 weeks, others who can fall out of bed at 5am and have 3,000 words on-screen before waking their children for a cooked breakfast and taking them to school on their way to a stressful day-job. I’m not one of them. I need equilibrium and head-space. When I tried to plough on without those two ingredients I unwittingly took a left turn and subsequently found myself in a universe running at a tangent to that envisaged at the outset of writing the novel.

Does it matter? I didn’t think it did at the point of realisation – there are a lot of good things in this at-a-tangent universe – but as the novel has progressed it has become clear that some of those good things are mere charades, and the gulf between the two universes is widening. Tone has changed; character motivation has fallen down a hole or splintered into contradictions; the mirrored surface of each storyline has dulled so is unable to produce reflections. 

Readers might not even notice in the run of the three books, but I want it not only to be right, but to be the very best I can produce. My reputation depends on it. And there is no worse critic for a writer than Self.

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