I hadn’t planned on working on my novel until month six of my literary challenge. I began writing it in my final year of university during my creative writing module and continued to work on it for many months after graduating, before losing inspiration and temporarily shutting the door on what was shaping into the beginning of a manuscript.
However, I recently read The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall and such was its impact that I knew I wanted to start writing again. Speaking to Emylia, and discovering her tale of becoming a published author made writing my book seem a far more achievable feat than it had done previously, and soon after finishing The Book of Summers, I unearthed Annabel; 25,000 words of what I one day hope to be a finished book.
For anyone that has been in a similar position, revisiting work that has not been touched for a long time can be a daunting task. Indeed, reading back through it, I realised just how much work it needs; I have the skeleton of a story, one that needs much fleshing out and honing.
Beginning to write again was both scary and liberating, but I feel that taking a break from the novel, which centres around a subject that is quite close to home, has given me a fresh perspective and the ability to write more objectively than I had previously been able to.
I immediately edited out a 5,000 word passage within my text, thus ‘murdering my babies’ as the infamous saying goes. And then I began to write, fleshing out what I already had and developing what is now the first chapter of my novel.
Having used Lorraine Mace‘s critiquing service while at university, whose appraisal I found invaluable, I have decided to submit my first chapter and wait patiently for feedback. Such guidance, for me, is incredibly beneficial, as it is totally objective and gives me the opportunity to look at my work through somebody elses eyes; and it brings to attention any bad writing habits I might have. For example, I am aware that my love of language can often cause my writing to be too lexically dense, a fact that both my lawyer father and great actress friend Sian have pointed out. Following advice from them both I am now aware of times when my descriptions are too wordy and am able to amend accordingly.
In addition to using a critiquing service, and following a recommendation from Emylia I have decided to book myself in for an Arvon Writing Course in October to aid my writing journey. I will be spending six days at The Hurst, their writing centre in Shropshire during which time I hope to solidify and hone my manuscript.
It has always been a dream of mine to finish a book, and I’m looking forward to the journey on which my writing will take me.