Monday, 21 September 2009
Once more, with feeling...
I just realised that I hadn’t blogged for almost a week...whatcha been doing, dude I hear you ask? Aren’t we your bloggy friends your main priority? Well yes of course you are – ish. I’ve been busy on the manuscript, is the main reason. And I’m happy to report that just the other day I typed those three little words. The goddamn End.
Yes, 140,000 words later and the first draft is done. And can I just publicly thank E at Cliff Cottage for the space, time and support (not to mention the delicious meals, multiple bags of maltesers and lashings of whisky) she has offered me over the last wee while. Without the writing weekends at CC I would be nowhere near the stage I am now. You’re a saint, E. Every writer should be blessed with a benefactor like you.
The stage I am at now is the re-write. See, you think you type those three little words and your job is done. You can crack open the seal on that bottle of whisky, neck a goodly portion of same, put your feet up and relax while dreaming of all the plaudits, adulation, kudos, female attention and cash that your work of undoubted genius is bound to bring in. But then you make the mistake of reading some of it and you realise that the hard work is yet to begin. The Re-write.
I sometimes listen to other writers talking about the process they go through and mentally tick them off as mendacious and self-deluded if they say they love the re-writing process. Who are they kidding? It’s a freakin’slog.
The main difficulty with me is honesty. Reading something I’ve written and giving it an honest appraisal is not easy. These rows of words are my children. Especially that beautifully crafted metaphor on page 11. And then there’s the issue of being caught up in the narrative...we all love a story, don’t we? I read over the text, forget I’m supposed to be editing and ten minutes later I realise I’ve lost my focus and been drawn in to the story. Which is nice ‘cos if I’ve caught myself doing that and I know the story intimately, that’s a good sign, innit? No, it isn’t, ‘cos I miss stuff. So then I need to go back and start all over again.
Anywho, the re-write can wait a few weeks. I need some distance from the work before I can edit it effectively. Besides I feel a bit drained. It takes a lot of mental energy to sustain that kind of effort over the months. Whatever emotions my characters are going through, I need to “experience” a little of that myself. So it’s time to chill, blog and catch up on my reviews for crimesquad.com.
That’s the plan. Except that I’m laid up injured. I went over on my ankle yesterday and did some ligament damage. It’s no funny, Miss W.
There was I, sharp as a new pin on a Sunday morning, bright as a silver button and as hungry as a hunter after a night out on the Saturday. To celebrate my non-hungover status – I was captain sensible – I know when to stop – I walked to the local shop and purchased a newspaper and some munchies that could be used to cook a fry-up. I left the shop swinging my wee bag, mind full of the stomach filling, artery clogging potential of the contents in said bag and suddenly found myself falling shoulder first into a wall. Somebody had made the ground uneven. The pain was awful. The swelling in my ankle was instant. Never a good sign. So while I’m hopping up and down on one leg groaning in a high pitch, fukfukfukfukfukfukfuk, an old man walked past me and said – that doesnae look good, son. No shit, Doctor Moriarty. While my indifferent fellow shopper ambled over to his Ford Focus and drove off, I hopped, stumbled and limped 300 yards to my house. The first 100 were nasty. Thought I was going to have to phone a taxi to take me the rest. The pain reduced to a dull roar and I managed. Wot a trooper.
Accident and Emergency is never my favourite place to while away the hours. Particularly when the sun is shining, I’m the one damaged and I have a bag full of fry-able foods wasting on the kitchen floor.
Long story short-ish, I waited a few hours to be assessed and x-rayed. Nothing broken, but I have suffered some ligament damage. After three. 1...2...3...awwwww.
Right. That was rubbish. Do it again, but this time with feeling.
I’ve to sit with my foot higher than my heart and wiggle my toes once an hour. Try doing that while working on a laptop. No easy. Another thing is that I’ve not to exercise for 6-8 weeks. Time to put back on that fat-suit. Well, I would if I had access to some food. The cupboards are bare and I can’t drive. Not enough flexibility in my ankle to do so safely. Hurrah for Tesco Direct. Problem is they have no delivery slots until tomorrow lunchtime. In the meantime, a quick inventory of my kitchen cupboards reveal that Old Mother Hubbard has been in on a raid. All I have left are 2 apples, 3 tangerines, two tins of tuna, an egg and some frozen chips. Oh, and a bottle of wine. There’s calories in wine, no?