The first draft of the next novel, Blind Faith, is finally finished. This sort of news could even cheer up a Brazilian this morning but you need to calm down. It’s only the end of the first draft. In my experience, the other books have taken four drafts to get right so maybe it’s not even halfway.
It feels tighter than its predecessors but I suppose they all do until you lift your head once more into reality and then plunge back in with a new breath. The embryonic story is delicately being pigeoned to the beta-readers and I await their feedback, like an expectant gladiator looking up at Caesar.
This story has already taken a complete re-write and I’ve also re-written the ending of the re-written bit. It’s gone back to the drawing board so many times that the architect is getting a restraining order put on me. I don’t know where I am with it anymore. I think it hangs together but now is the test.
The beta-readers were gentle to begin with. On my first novel they merely patted me on the head like a lost puppy and were overwhelmed simply by realising that I could string a sentence together. On the second novel, the feedback was abrupt and more constructive, with certain individuals demanding total cuttings of scenes. But this time around I’m ready to curl up into the foetal position and expect the worst.
After three full-length novels I can definitely call myself a writer. I’m not as sensitive to the selection of words I use anymore. They flow from my fingers on to this worn keyboard like water over a brook. I’m not even that arsed by the story either. I know that a story’s a story. I’ve got more in me and I know I’ll write different stories at different times and some will be better than others.
This is now a business. I’m not as precious about talent, and inspiration, and pontificating about the pretentiousness of it all. Those things are pretty much there to distract the author from just accepting that they’re shitting themselves. I’m not too worried anymore.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that I’d now enjoy hearing negative criticism but I don’t think I’d be so fragile if I did. But hey, this is the end of my first draft, no one’s read it yet, it’s brilliant, it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, it’s the best thing that anyone’s ever written, there won’t be any changes because what could possibly improve perfection. Ah, the end of the first draft, the last point in time when my baby is all for me.