Monday, 6 December 2010

On Rewriting...

First proper full draft of the children's novel is now done, and waiting to be dusted - ie read through, tidied, threads of thought and story securely fastened in the right places. I've put it aside until New Year; my theory being that then I can come at it fresh, read it as I would a fresh novel and then I'll see if it works and test it out on a couple of readers.

Which is why rewriting sucks! It just expands to fit whatever time is available, not helped by four projects not getting funded - only one put in by myself, the others by a production company who are still burrowing out through the recession and sending stuff of mine out into potential markets for funding. I had hoped the rule of three would work and the third would get the money but that's the world we're in at the moment.

Two weeks ago, I dived back into a script called Monkey Puzzle Tree. (Yeah, it's one of the few titles I've come up with that I absolutely love; which makes me fear that it will have to be dumped at some point.)

The first draft made its producer laugh out loud all the way from here to LA; the second, well suffice to say she said she smiled for the first time on p 27. And she was right. It had become over earnest, solidly fed with stuff that made sense and set up the world but added nothing to the story or characters or the atmosphere. Scenes with purpose but with no real predicament. Dead weight. The very fault I warn my students about.

But I know I can make it work, hence the splicing open of its heart and all its characters and brainstorming the most erratic ideas and images and words just to see where they lead.

Which leaves the plot - my personal bete noir - looking almost healthy except for one or two absolutely crucial decisions that will affect just about everything and without which I can't pull all the pieces back into a fresh draft: my goal for this week!

Which is why I've spent the morning writing Christmas cards for Australia and the UK. Hmmm.


  1. Am flapping about like a broken winged bat in my novel too. Since finishing the MA I have found it harder and harder to knuckle under and without feedback cannot be sure of the sloppiness level. Well done for finishing the childrens one tho!!! And best of luck with Monkey Puzzle. I love the title too!
    T xx

  2. Thanks! If you want to swop first three chaps, we can do that and give each other feedback!?