Friday, 1 June 2007

How to finish a big book

It has been half term this week, and I have been able to really have a good long go at The Infinite Day. And as I come to the end of the week, I’m able to report that the end is literally in sight. Perhaps another 30 pages to go and lots of notes to work from. However my deadline for manuscript delivery is the last day of July and the fact is that I need to go back to the beginning and tidy up the manuscript. So there is still a lot to be done. If you pray, pray on!

For any would-be writers, I offer a couple of thoughts on this matter of finishing books. The first is that you really do need determination. Writing is hard work, and it’s easy to put it to one side and go for a walk, read a book or surf the web. You have to stick at it.

The second is an odd characteristic; it is ruthlessness. I have a cast of many characters, each of whom have their own foibles, problems and concerns. The temptation to pursue all of these fascinating characters and try to deal with their individual fates has to be resisted. If you’re not careful, you end up creating an infinite world, which of course, requires a book of infinite length. So I have had to curtail all sorts of fascinating matter which has to become the literary equivalent of ‘the road not travelled’. Readers will just have to use their own imaginations to decide what X said to Y after three months absence or what exactly lies behind the terse comment on some minor character ‘he was killed on the battlefield’. (I made that up, but you know what I mean.)

Anyway I must press on and get back to the book. Even blogs can be a diversion.

Have a good week.