There’s nothing like working on what I hope will be the final re-writes of Sleight of Hand (a woman can dream, can’t she?) to make me feel as though I’m piecing an intricate jigsaw together.
I think I’m probably a bit of a slow top, but it’s taken me a while to feel confident about how to put the feedback I’ve received into action. It’s been a hard ‘thunk’, I’m sure Pooh would agree.
I couldn’t be more encouraged by what’s been said, but the script needs tightening. I’ve been working out in notes and my head how to ramp up the existing tension.
I keep telling myself this will get easier as I grow in my understanding of the writing craft, but I know in my heart that it will be different with each book which isn’t the same as easier.
So today I am experimenting. Taking a section and looking at it from a different perspective. Sleight of Hand is getting darker, but I think that’s where it needs to go.
I’ve learnt a lot from this process. I feel I am emerging as a much more confident writer with a clearer in house style (Hattie Jaques meets The Grim Reaper). Despite that allusion, I’ve less of an underlying need to keep the reader entertained. Telling the story in all it’s sinister integrity has become crucial.
I am having to dig deep emotionally and creatively.
As a child I got into terrible trouble because when I couldn’t make cardboard jigsaw pieces fit, I’d suck them and change their shape until they did. Sometimes it would be a pattern or juxtaposition of colours that attracted me to depart from the intended design. Occasionally it was shear frustration at not being able to find the correct position for the piece. I’d feel initially delighted with my ingenuity but that quickly crumbled into a dissatisfaction. It didn’t quite work in the way I’d imagined it would. Reality can be frustrating.
I’ve always relished a challenge. It’s a hell of a lot more fun finding that unique place for each part of the narrative than it is trying to squish pieces into places where they have no intention of fitting.