Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Nail

I had a chat with editor Amanda Pillar last week, during which she asked me how closely I plot something before I write it. My one-word answer ("meticulously") came back to bite me in the arse not a day later when the story I was working on fell to bits around my ears.

There's a lot to be said for the thrill of writing something that you've taken great care in mapping out, only to find it veering off in its own new and exciting direction. I've worked on a couple of yarns in which characters and story have taken on lives of their own and the resulting draft has been very different from - and very much better than - the synopsis. I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later that the reverse should happen.

I'd finished my first draft and was returning to polish it before sending it off, when I noticed a problem. It was a small enough job to fix it, except that in doing so I created another, larger fault. And in fixing that, the issue became bigger and nastier still. It was like one of those sit-com moments where someone attempts a simple, well-intentioned job like hanging a picture only to end up covered in plaster dust and standing in a pile of bricks.

I'm pleased to say that my initial reaction (run screaming for the hills, scattering bits of ripped manuscript in my wake) lasted only a day or so. Everything's fine now, the story's away with the readers , and I'm only a week off where I should be.

Something different next - research for a pitch I've been asked to make and also asked not to talk about.

So shhh.


Blogger Peter Pan said...

but you just mentioned it! DOH!
And why am I having to write Kille in the verification box? What do they know?

12:38 AM  

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