Wallpaper 238: Engulfed




Re-hashing an Old Post and a Lament

On June 3rd 2014 I posted the following piece…

Is writing free hand a good idea?

If you’d asked me that question  six months ago I’d have said, “No chance.” The reason for this reaction is the fact that my writing is unintelligible to most people – including me, and has always been so. But oddly it was this fact that eventually made me change my mind entirely.

I don’t write a lot of books. I suppose I must average one a year. Until this latest effort I’ve always used a computer to write them – from first draft to the completed travesties that finally get published. But for ‘Silent Resistance’ there was no computer available at the locations in which I composed this fair tale of derring-do (or as Sir Terry Pratchett once put it – ‘telling myself the story’). I was forced to fall back upon the pen, paper, stiff fingers, and aching wrist. Here is an example of the resulting mess…

hand written smaller

Well here comes the good bit: I really struggle to read that. When I transcribe this on to computer I have to really concentrate. In the process of doing so I spot errors – be they grammatical, storyline faults, erroneous continuity, spelling, and all that hoo-hah. Of course it’s the easiest thing in the world to correct them. I don’t need to delete anything: I just alter it at the point of typing or totally ignore the faulty script. I don’t get attached to storylines or characters, and can change or remove them without actually deleting anything. It’s so liberating. It’s like someone else has written a great story really badly, and all I have to do is make it right. The results then look something like this…  

second draft smaller   

My only concern now is – what am I gonna do with the third draft?

Well, as things worked out, the third and fourth drafts came and went in the usual way – tweaking, tweaking, tweaking until I got it as good as I could at the time. The result was this…

Silent Resistance final cover

…my best book by a country mile. A book that (whilst I was writing it) lifted me out of a depression that I was experiencing at that time. But then I did something incredibly stupid: I blatantly signposted a sequel that can’t be un-signposted. A sequel that I’m not sure I can write. And worst still: a sequel that will end any further stories that feature the central character. A lot of people think that in order to write a book you have to be smart. Maybe, but not in my case. And, you know, I so want to write about this imaginary girl again!