Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The end of the beginning OR The beginning of the end?

I began writing my latest novel on 24th July and finished the first draft yesterday. Only when I started this post did I realise that it has taken four months almost to the day to complete. Obviously, without a word count, the time frame is meaningless, but it has come in at just over 70k (it will no doubt change). This, to me, is a vindication of the old adage ‘More haste, less speed’. I made a conscious
The Beginning
decision at the start not to give myself added stress by putting a target end-date, though I hoped to be ready for editing by the end of the year. It must be said that I had the dubious luxury of neither a contract nor an agent to satisfy or a deadline to meet. My time was my own. The strange thing though is that less pressure produced quicker output, bearing in mind that though this is a first draft I do edit as I write. It always helps me to maintain continuity if I begin a day’s work by reading what I had written the previous day. We are all different, I know, but I do not have it in me not to edit as I read so, while I stand by this being the first draft, it is by no means entirely rough (I hope).

Brighton Pavilion
Enjoyment of the genre in which one is writing is, in my opinion, essential. I have tried others. I am happy with others. But writing in the Regency period gives me something I can’t even properly analyse. A joy in the use of language, this would probably be uppermost. The flair and style of Georgian England – such a romantic age in our country’s history, though I doubt social ranks below the aristocracy and privileged classes would agree - but in my books I don’t go there. A freedom that gives me access to early 19th century London, to Brighton’s Pavilion, to countless stately homes with their vast estates, to the etiquette of the times with all its nuances. Well, it seems I have managed to analyse it after all. To me the essence of this age is ‘Romance’! What could be better than to set a romance in a romantic era?
Chatsworth House

Chatsworth in the Autumn

So where does a thing begin and where does it end? I could say in all honesty that I have written a book. The story is complete and therefore I would be justified in typing ‘The End’ – something which incidentally I never do. An ending of sorts, for sure, but not the finished article. More something I would categorise as the end of the beginning. Ahead of me lies the beginning of the end. I have enjoyed writing this one more than any of its predecessors and I am looking forward to the next stage with eager anticipation.

You may have noticed that I have given this novel no title. It has a working one only, entirely inappropriate now to what comes below it, and it would be meaningless to share it with you. I am hoping that, by the time I reach the end of the end, a new title will have presented itself to me. The title – so important and yet for me one of the hardest things. A book must fit its title and vice versa. It is often the last thing that comes to me, when I can truly say I have reached the end. But that’s a discussion for another day.

See you next time