Friday, 5 December 2008

Lights out, people still home...

I suppose it was inevitable given my rant about the dark the other day that the lights would go out in our house.
One day there was flickering in the kitchen, next day (which would be the day my parents arrived to see the Bassist in his school play) there were no lights in the kitchen, the downstairs loo, the utility room or the cellar. Fortunately, the socket circuit was unaffected so we were working by the light of our SAD lightbox which was slightly surreal.

Amazingly, when I rang the electrician he said he’d be out today ( I was thinking Monday at the earliest) and when he came (which was at the time he’d said he would arrive, more miracles) he was able to fix the problem in twenty minutes with the aid of a natty head-torch. As he went down the steps of the cellar (where the fuse box and other things electrical whirr and shine and have their mysterious being) he looked more like a caver about to navigate an unknown system than an electrician who was about to discover and change a dodgy, burned-out fuse module (or something).
So we are lit once more – hooray! I don’t like using torches, unless it’s to read in bed so I don’t disturb the Other Half.

I wish glitches in novel-writing were so easily fixable. I wish I could delve into the depths of the work in progress, metaphorical head-torch affixed,a and surface mere minutes later waving a burned-out bit of narrative and saying ‘that’s it, everything should be fine now.’
But it’s not that easy.
Having said that, things are proceeding nicely with the work in progress after months of chopping, fitting, dashing ahead and then meandering at the pace of a bemused snail.
I’m not sure draft one (or is that draft three and a half?) is going to be finished before Christmas but it’ll be a close run thing.
Then there’ll be the small matter of a couple of months of editing… I know the book is too long (over 150 000 words already) and there are bits which need some reworking but I think I’m happy with the overall shape and flow now.

Still, it’s taken me the best part of two and a half years to write, though I did stop and pretty much start again in April and begin a complete rewrite with different characters and a different backstory which, inevitably, affected the narrative as I’d originally conceived it. The same things just can’t happen to different people, not unless you’re writing a ruthlessly plot-driven novel.

So, much as I say I’d like to be able to fix things quickly, I guess I wouldn’t. Anything good – including revisions and rewrites – takes time to get right, so it needs whatever time it takes.

I’m blinking glad the lights are back on though.

5 comments:

KAREN said...

We often have power-cuts where we are, so I can relate to being left in the (dreaded!) dark.

Glad the lights are back on and that the writing's going well. How some authors manage to churn out a book a year I don't know!

Akasha Savage said...

I absolutely know where you're coming from! I pretty much feel like I'm fumbling in the dark at the moment in my own w-i-p....but it's getting here! x

David Isaak said...

"The same things just can’t happen to different people, not unless you’re writing a ruthlessly plot-driven novel."

Yeah. And said plot-driven novels always seem highly artificial...

Today's verification code: rediffed.

I guess someone else diffed already.

Alis said...

Karen - Hi, I suspect that the authors who churn out a book a year don't have a day job and aren't doing much research. I gather that Dick Francis - certainly a book a year man in his heyday - used to employ his wife as his research assistant. Nice work, etc.

Hi Akasha - sorry your wip's not going so swimmingly - hang on in there1

Hi David - Yeah, I'm pretty much all fed up with plot-driven novels. I tend to start them and then, about page 100 think 'I don't care if everybody in this book dies' and stop reading.
On the subject of word verifications, we really should start coming up with meanings for some of the good ones!
this one's atfultu which sounds like pidgin for you're artful as well'!

Dakoota said...

Interesting Addition!
Home Lights