There’s always a good reason for a party. And there’s even more ways to celebrate an occasion! After writing this I will be jetting off to Australia for three weeks, and anyone who is familiar with my second book A Kangaroo In My Sideboard will know that is a BIG thing for me. (If you’re not sure why, check the page on this website.) That alone is a reason for celebration. But last week was another – I finished the first complete draft of Book Number THREE: The Titanic Document.
The whole thing happened very quietly. I’ve known exactly how I wanted to finish off that last chapter for quite some time, so like an actor waiting for his cue, along came the penultimate few lines and BANG – there it was – typed. (That’s an appropriate analogy, by the way, as I cut my baby writing teeth on scripts for performance, and I’ve been an actor for over thirty years.) I had given myself a deadline: get the manuscript completed before going to Australia, and I achieved that. Definite cause for celebration! Except – what actually happened?
I was alone. Time for a stretch, pat the dog and put the kettle on. No fist-pumping. No round of applause. No balloons – nothing.
Writing is a solitary game for a reason. It is a personal contract between the writer and the reader. There can be any number of readers, but only one writer. Except… that’s not entirely true. Which brings me to the point of this post: I may be the person who comes up with the original ideas, and then set them out in a readable format, but in between there are normally other sources of input. In my case that comes from members of my writer’s group initially, and also from beta readers – people who look at my stuff in its “raw” state, and then offer feedback that may prompt me to make further improvements to the text. Finally, there will be an independent “copy edit” by a professional writer that allows me to polish out all the rough sections and produce the version that is then published. So, in reality, there are quite a few members of a writer’s team. Or, at least, there should be. I worry when I hear of writers who plough blindly through a manuscript from beginning to end without checking to see if what they produce meets the expectations of their readers. That is all too common, I’m afraid. Slush pile stuff.
Now, I’ve reached The End – but not completely. Therefore NOT yet celebration time. In the theatre there’s normally an after-show party. Television and movie people have a “wrap” party. Yours truly had a “nap” instead! There you go – if you are one of my readers, I look forward to sharing my contract with you. Great to have you on my team!
Need to know:
(I don’t just write fiction.