I shouldn’t be writing this, but…

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11th July 2014

Okay, okay, okay.

I should not be writing this because I’m on a deadline. My second novel, The Page has to be with my editor in exactly 48 hours. I have spent more than 24 hours in the last 32 editing. I am tired.

The edit began six weeks ago. I began with a beautiful raw manuscript, on neat freshly printed paper. In this time, it has become scrawled upon, scribbled upon and the corners are all dog eared and tattered.

It has travelled with me for a week in Spain and is now staring up from the table at me. It has been retyped now with all the amendments I hand wrote being typed on screen. It looks ugly now. I have changed sentences around more times than I can remember. I am sure that on numerous occasions the same sentence has been changed from what it began as to what it is now and back again.

All the sentences now seem to have been said before. Am I repeating myself? Did that character already do that? What the hell is going on?

I decided that the holiday part of the story would take place in Mexico.  Earlier I decided Spain would be better. This brings issues – the currency is euros now, not pesos. Shouldn’t be a major problem to change. Ah, but the time difference is a major problem. You see characters wake up in different time zones, characters in England are doing things in the evening, those abroad are at lunchtime. The sudden change of continent changes everything. Do I leave it as Mexico and always regret it. No, I change it. And give myself a continuity headache for a few more hours.

The deadline is getting closer.

My mind is spinning now. I hate the main character. That’s good. He is to be hated. I also hate his wife. This is not so good. She is a good person, a good character. Do I hate her as a character, or do I hate the quality of the writing about her? I don’t know.

I am editing. To me this means that the manuscript I have written should shorten as I dispose of bits I didn’t need or didn’t fit. This is what happened with my debut, The Radio. It dropped from 90,000 words to 70,000 words. This one is going up. Up? Yep, its 15,000 words longer than when I started my ahem, ‘edit’. This is unchartered territory. It’s scary. Help.

I needed to write this. Just to write something that wasn’t the life I’ve lived for the last 24 hours – a simple staccato edit. Something that just flowed straight out of my mind onto the page (pardon the pun).

I’m crumbling now. There are two additional chapters to write. Chapters that are necessary to pull the whole story together. How did I miss them when I wrote this? No time to think about it. Just get on and write them.

Go, go, go. The clock is ticking.

Before I do go though I thought I’d list the things that have got me through so far. It may help somebody else, who knows?

1) Listen to music. Music that improves your mood. I’d suggest Bright Eyes or The Weakerthans.

2) Switch off all social media. Switch off your phone. Switch off everything (unless you have a pacemaker) keep that on.

3) Light a candle. Whilst staring into space for that elusive word (which you know but cannot remember off the top of your head) the flicker of the candle helps.

4) Smoke. Heavily. Alright, I know this is not politically correct but breaks outside every half an hour seem to do me the world of good.

5) Get a comfy chair. Mine’s crap, gonna get one with some royalties. One day.

6) When tiredness grips your entire body and your eyes close, just laugh. Laugh at how ridiculously in love you are with writing. Look what it’s doing to you.

I’ve got to get back to it.

I feel much better now I’ve offloaded that. I think.