Thursday, 10 May 2007

On writing, and the difference between pragmatism and lack of faith

It’s been an odd week. After about six weeks in which spring has pretended to be summer, our early summer is pretending to be spring. So we are back to rain and pullovers and having the central heating on.

Anyway, some small but significant progress on the book this week. I had an e-mail last week from someone who is promoting the film rights for the books, saying there was some interest and could I provide a synopsis of the last book? So on Monday, a bank holiday, I blasted off a ten-page summary and in the process resolved the three or four little niggling points that were still outstanding. So I now know what happens to X, Y and Z, where and how. And that, frankly, as far as I’m concerned is a major achievement. The land ahead now lies plain before me; I just have to walk across it.

I did however also have the second e-mail of a curious genre, which runs along the following lines. ‘Chris, I love your books. I am doing a project on writers for ABC High School, can I ask you some questions?’ And they trot out at least five or six questions all of which require answering. I presume that She-Who-Need-Not- Be-Named has a team of people who do it for her and a battery of stock answers. Anyway kids, I don't really mind. Better to write about a live dog than a dead lion as the Good Book nearly says but doesn't.

Of course you may say, isn't that exciting Chris about the possibility of film rights? Well yes, except that I am increasingly cautious about such things. Is it cynicism? Is it experience? Is it the righteous and patient faith of a godly man in an evil age? (No, I don't think it's the latter.) I have had experience of Christian publishing from around 1987, which makes it nearly 20 years in the business. And in that time I've had several encouragements that, had I taken them at face value, I’d have gone out and bought a new car. But they all came to nought; or near enough.

The trouble is, I am nagged by the possibility that my cool view on success is actually spiritually defective. Perhaps I should be anxiously and fervently praying without ceasing for the books’ triumph. It's not so much that I want to subscribe to the prosperity gospel; it's that I'm worried I hold to the austerity gospel in which you believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy that you personally will never obtain success. I guess we always need to pray (and never more than when we are about to pray) that God would give us a right view of ourselves and our actions.

Must dash. We have a church weekend away in the wilds of Wales and guess what, it's going to be wet. Oh joy….