This week, I am actually editing – and it feels good!
It’s been a summer of ups and downs for the novel, with an awful lot of thinking and talking but close to no doing, and it’s a bit of a relief to discover that my writing brain still seems to function. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s in top top condition – a fresh eye is proving a tremendous asset to what is now the fourth edit and I might just be making progress.
There was a moment at the weekend, though, when I thought the horse might have thrown me off for good…
Scrolling through my instagram feed, as you do on a lazy Sunday morning, I was stopped in my tracks by an image of my novel waiting to be read. Of course it wasn’t actually my novel – that would have involved mine being finished and, you know, published – but the title was the very one I’d chosen as I first worked on my manuscript, and the cover design did little to allay my concerns.
A few minutes of googling later and my worst fears were realised – someone had written my novel! And had it published! And sold loads of copies!
I emailed my agent, ready to accept her verdict that there was simply no point in continuing now that someone else had got there first. I’d done my research when I first began to work on the idea, and part of what excited me about it was there was nothing out there that even touched on the concept I’d come up with. But then that was two years ago – and a lot can happen in two years.
It turns out that I might have been over-reacting. Whilst the germ of the idea is the same, the direction this other novelist has taken it in is quite different. Crucially, it is in a different genre to the one I am hoping mine will inhabit – and interestingly reading it has shown into sharp relief the elements of my novel that jar in the genre it aspires to.
So I am beginning this fourth edit with renewed focus – not just where the over-arching direction of the novel is concerned, but also in my scrutiny of the words I’m using to bring my characters to life.
And with that in mind it’s time to get back on with today’s instalment…