Monday 23 April 2012

Finishing a Draft

I’ve completed the first draft of my new novel and I feel drained. There’s been no huge rush to it, no deadline, it’s not even under contract, but it’s left me completely drained, more than the ones that have gone before it.

Why, I wondered last night? What was so different about this? It had been very hard to write in parts, quite emotional, and trying to convey what my characters were thinking without going over the top was a challenge. That was part of it, certainly. But more than that, it’s a book that’s taken me into some very dark places inside myself and forced me to explore them. I’m told that my novels are quite dark, although I’m not sure I’ve always seen it. This time, however, I wanted to look into the shadows, and it appears I’ve succeeded. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There can be plenty of truth in those places. And without truth there’s no point to a novel.

Now I’ve put the book aside for a month. There are plenty of things that need to be changed in it, and small additions, changes to language, and all the other things a revision does. I’ll have a better idea of how well it all works when I read it through. For now, my brain is pretty much on empty. And I’m glad.


  1. Chris, congratulations on finishing this new novel! I am both desperate to read and nervous about reading this new novel of yours. If the writing of it drained you then that is likely going to be the effect it has (only one hundred fold) on your readers! I've said (many times?) before that your writing is cinematic and I am sure this new novel will be non stop physiological and psychological entertainment.

  2. Excellent. Celebrations are called for. As a matter of interest how much do you generally tend to change when running through a first edit? Minor tweaks or major revisions? Do you tend to "self-edit" as you write, or just get it down? I'm always fascinated by other people's processes, assuming that you're comfortable to share!!

  3. Thanks DJ - we'll have to see. It's definitely the most emotional thing I've written.

    Ian - the story itself doesn't change, but there will be quite a few changes in the language, moving around of some scenes, as well as honing and smoothing. That's why I set it aside for a while before the editing, so I can look at it with some objectivity.

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