The Sordid Life of a Novelist

I’m still working on my novel, and I’ve recently clocked it up to 36,000 words. It’s looking pretty likely to be my second novel to see publication, but the first — which I sent off to my publisher not too long ago and hope to be able to discuss in the near future — is a TV tie-in written to a brief. Obviously, that’s a different animal to writing an original story.

One trick I’ve learnt that I’d like to pass on to any neophyte authors out there: if you have an ebook reader, make regular ebook copies of your draft for proofreading/editing, even if the draft is only partial. I suspect I’ll be greeted with a round of “well, duh” responses — it does seem like an obvious bit of advice, after all — yet I’ve never heard anyone make this suggestion. It really does make all the difference: when I’m looking at my draft in Word, it’s just a bunch of stuff I’ve written; but when I’m reading it on my Kindle, it’s suddenly become a book, and I can read it with the same critical eye I can read any other ebook. It becomes a lot easier to notice weak points.

On the whole, writing the book has been a pleasingly smooth experience. I’ve often heard from authors who report on a mid-novel crisis: they get halfway through and are suddenly filled with screaming doubts as to whether their book was a viable project after all. I haven’t experienced that, exactly, but I’ve had a couple of small-scale crises where I’ve taken a long look at the novel and noticed a major structural flaw.

In each case, though, I’ve simply headed down the gay bar, sat down with pencil, paper, Kindle and VK Blue, and tried to work out a solution while bathed in purple light and the soothing tones of Nicki Minaj. In each case I’ve come up with a solution — although I’ll admit that, in the most recent case, I’ve yet to actually implement the solution I have in mind. Doing so will require more inspiration, and getting more inspiration will involve more research… so I’d best get started, then.

See you all!

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