Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The End

Today I finished the first draft of The Forest Dwellers. I typed the last line, punched in the last full stop and wrote with great satisfaction, 'The End'.

Of course, it is nothing like 'the end' for now the hard work is just beginning. Now I must be hard on myself, objectively criticise my own voice, sift the wheat from the chaff and cast huge chunks of my manuscript into the recycle bin.

There will be parts that need entirely redrafting, characters that need to be taken in hand, given a good telling off and put firmly in their place. Some sections will be expanded, others stripped bare, but at the end of it all I hope to find a solid, marketable novel.

I have written The Forest Dwellers via the perspective of several narrators, a new experiment for me, and I do have some worries that their voices may be too similar, that my own voice will be heard above those of my characters. The editing process will hopefully reveal any such weaknesses in the narrative so that I can really get inside my characters heads, differentiate between them; highlight turns of phrase, characteristics and opinions.

But, before I do any of that, I am going to take a break from The Forest Dwellers, perhaps work on some short stories or poetry and begin to think about my next novel. AElf and Alys, Leo, Giles, Thurrold and Tyrell are all so firmly in my head just now that I need to step away from them, try to forget them so that, when I do come back, I can approach them as a reader and discover them all afresh.

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