By Jennifer Young
I went at my novel knowing that I couldn't possibly manage 1,667 words each and every day and that my only hope was to get it done as soon as possible, preferably without neglecting everyone around me too much. And I’m pleased to say that I did – and that I even managed to feed and clothe my family and discharge my paid writing commitments at the same time, though perhaps some of the other household chores got a little neglected.
And once I’d typed those magic words The End and downed a celebratory glass of red, what next? Revision. Redrafting. Editing. Because when I read back over the first draft I was struck by the inevitable horrors. You know the sort. There’s the vegan tucking in to an omelette; the woman who starts the book without a husband and yet by the end has been married for twenty years to a man we never see; the character who (if you pay attention to the timescale) manages to be in two places at the same time. Worst of all, one of the major characters is so completely underdeveloped I can barely see him in my own mind – so heaven help my readers.
|Hero just a cardboard cut-out? Oh dear!|
Photo: Gage Skidmore (from Wikimedia Commons)
As it happens, I like editing. I like redrafting. It’s easier to breathe life into a cardboard cut-out when I know what situations he’s in. It’s easier, too, to see the flaws in the novel when it’s actually written than when it’s in the planning stage, though planning remains essential (and indeed, I wrote to a plan).
I have written a novel in a month. It’s 75,000 words long. It’s pretty terrible, if I’m honest – but at least I know why. And I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to picking up the red pen.