Getting back on the horse
Sometimes the only thing to do, is to put the thing aside.
All those months (years!?) that have passed since I sent my novel out haven’t gone wasted. At the time, an agent gave me some useful feedback. I agreed with her points and I understood clearly what was needed.
But not how to do it.
Nine months (or so) of unsuccessful redrafting later, I put it down. I went back to reading. I read and read and read. Anything. Everything. I took notes. I wrote short stories.
And then, one novel had me turning pages as though it held all the answers. The writing is the best kind of dream. Samantha Harvey’s Dear Thief is a letter to an estranged friend, a woman who has betrayed the narrator. I kept thinking – my novel already had some questions, directly addressed to the reader. What if those were questions for the narrator’s sister? What if I wrote the entire novel to her?
I’m redrafting again.
It’s early days, but I’m happier with it than I’ve been in a long while. So, I’ll be reading a short extract from the current draft of The Exclusions of Love at Brixton BookJam. I’m sure I won’t know how I feel about this draft, until I hear it out loud in a room full of people.
With thanks to Jacqueline Crooks and Richard Skinner, two fantastic writers I’m privileged to be reading alongside on the night.