Monday, 23 February 2009


There’s something peculiar about the business of writing, about the way the need to write is so overwhelming and yet is sometimes so difficult to execute. I’m feeling overwhelmed at the moment - too many unfinished Works in Progress on the go at once. I can't seem to focus - my concentration flits from project to project. The Belfast Boy, my novel that was 'accepted' by a small press publisher three years ago but was never published, needs to be revised and updated. Kickback, the novel I wrote last year and that The Secretary reckons needs a lot of work on its plot, is nagging at me to be rewritten. And I have any number of short stories in need of a sharper ending, waiting to be sharpened. You would think, wouldn’t you, that a reasonably successful short story writer (who is also a - so far - unsuccessful novelist) would concentrate on finishing a few more short stories. But instead I’m bogged down in another new novel.

Why? You might well ask.

It’s a mystery.


Eryl Shields said...

Because the very thought of redrafting is agony. It's so much nicer to start afresh on something that might turn out perfect first time, even knowing that's actually impossible.

Once I've finished a first draft I have to be prodded with sharp sticks in order to merely read what I've written.

Good luck with the new novel.

Paul said...

Thanks, Eryl. So far, so good.

Actually, I don't mind redrafting, except that when I do it I don't feel I've really written anything 'new'. I have to have some kind of tangible evidence that I've created something (usually in the form of hundreds of new words, regardless of their quality or whether they are arranged in the correct order).

I'm sure I'm not alone in that . . .

John said...

I know the frustration Paul.
I cracked the short-story market in 1972. So long ago, but this was at a period in my life when I had other things to occupy me. (Two children under 5 years of age, and a crippling mortgage (£19.00 a month!)
So I lost touch, and the market slowly died anyhow as one by one the magazines, 'Argosy', 'London Mystery Magazine', 'Tit-Bits' etc. all vanished.
So I am stuck with novels now. I have written seven, and I'm finishing the final draft of my eighth. Maybe this one will be the one to be published; the one everyone will see as my 'First Novel'. And I am only 70. A bright future or what!

Thanks for an interesting blog Paul.

Paul said...

John - sorry for taking so long to reply. Hope you have success with your eighth 'first' novel! My hopes had been raised that my redrafting would bear fruit this time, but alas it's back to the drawing board (and the short stories!). Nil carborundum . . .