Sunday, May 18, 2008



Sunday morning, 8.30, sunlight pouring through the windows, and here I am. Noble or what? A good friend has just completed the final draft of her novel. I'm so, SO envious am determined to get to that hallowed place sooner rather than later too. Another good friend has completed the final drafts of 4 novels since I started mine, and seen them bound with lovely covers and out there. Did a word count yesterday, 45,000 in. At first I was glum, 45,000 is only just over half. But then that's 25,000 to go, and it's rewriting what is already there (and been rewritten about 5,000 times already), so then it didn't seem so bad. I'll get to the couple of new chapters to write wholesale at the end when I get to them, they're staying out of this calculation for now.

The miserable thing about rewriting is you're only looking for the bad bits. At this stage the entire book seems to be nothing but. Grammar police - but as far as this blog goes am taking a leaf from the supremely wonderful Simon Gray on giving up on diary rewriting........

Last night I began revising a paragraph because I was shocked by what I was writing even as I was writing it. So I softened it, sweetened it a little, softening and sweetening myself a little too in the process, and then I thought, but no, this is fraudulent, leave it as it was, so I went back to what it was, ran my eye through it, made a correction to one of the sentences because it looked gauche, and then I was at it, and by at it I mean working on it as if it were a piece of writing, I must have spent hours on a few paragraphs, fretting away at sentences, arrowing them in and out of each other then doing a fair copy which I then rewrote, and again copied, and so on until the headache began, the brain felt arid, the sentences on the page were as dead as counters - tiddlywinks, as if I'd been playing tiddlywinks for an eternity, but without a cup to wink the tiddle, tiddle the wink into - it wasn't until I was undressed and about to get into bed that I realised what I'd been up to, so I had to get dressed again, put on the boots because it was now raining, clump across the garden, rip the pages out of the pad, tear them into strips, screw them up and bin them, then back across the garden, hating the dawn light, the birds, the rain. 'I thought you'd already come to bed,' Victoria mumbled. 'No. That wasn't me,' I said. Who was it then?' she said. 'Bob Monkhouse' I said. ... I will never again rewrite any part of this, on I go and on - feckless, thoughtless, cruel and stupid, it doesn't matter, because in this case you are only what you write, never what you rewrite - there's a football match.....

Simon Gray
The Smoking Diaries
Faber 2004

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

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