Editing my next novel, Lucky Portbraddon has been a little more complicated than usual. For various reasons, it took a long time to write (still at work, children, schoolwork, housework etc) and then when it was finished, I left it for five years. Coming back to it, it  needed virtually re-writing as my style has changed, and I’d written it in what I now think was a rather peculiar way! It was also far too long so I cut it back by about a third, and then, perhaps you might think it was ready for ‘proper’ edit…

When I  finish a novel, the story continues in my head; the story of the characters’ lives might finish for my readers, but in some virtual world they continue, and occasionally I write down what happens to them. After a race, a sportsperson might need to ‘run down’ or ‘swim down’ and do a few laps or a few lengths, well I sometimes feel that I need to ‘write down’, and so extra episodes get written. These aren’t intended to be a sequel, although sometimes I do later use things I’ve written in these ‘write downs’ in other stories,

When I finished Lucky Portbraddon, I kept on writing, and wrote the back story to one of the characters. He does something seemingly inexplicable in the book which has major effects on the other characters. Originally his action just remained an enigma – in real life we all know people who do extraordinary life-changing things and we never really know why. However, I decided that maybe his back story should be included, to flesh him out as a character. I decided I couldn’t put his story in chronologically as it would spoil the big surprise for the reader when he makes his unexpected move, so I had to put in the story in flashbacks. There were about six episodes, so I had to work out where to put them – where they would best fit in so as not to interrupt the continuity of he narrative, and would link in some way to some other scene he was involved in, and would have their own sequence for the reader to follow.

Since the story is still quite long it has been a major planning and organisational effort to get these chapters in the right place, with introductions where necessary; they don’t want to unbalance the rest of the narrative or the flow of other plot lines, nor seem too abrupt or sudden… I think I have it right, but after two complete read-throughs in the lat week, my eyes  are just about square… but I must do it again, to check, to keep checking…

6 thoughts on “Write-downs…

    • Plenty of drinking… plenty o driving… but only in one book did it happen at the same time! I shall have a Nehru jacket and a tie-dyed shirt in my next book, specially for you!

      Like

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