Phil: Over the last couple of months, regular readers will know we’ve been talking about our second book. It’s very much at the planning stage but as this is the
fun important bit, we’re not rushing.
In my head, there are a couple of possible storylines. They are similar but the tale encounters different twists and turns along the way. What I didn’t know was which one would be good and which absolutely brilliant. The only way to find out was to dig in a write some stuff to see how they turned out.
Obviously I wasn’t going to write two entire books and then discard one. For one thing I’m too lazy and anyway, they will (in my head) both be such great works of literature that to lose one would deprive the world too much. Can you imaging the great and good of the Guardian book supplement in tears ? Newsnight review abandoning anything other than wailing and gnashing of teeth at cultures great loss ?
So, I decided that a couple of decent length synopsis would do the job. Each starts and finishes from the same point – we have a story arc to fulfill after all – but I played with the journey in some major ways.
In this respect it’s a bit like looking at a cabinet full of massive puddings in a pub and not being able to decide if you want the banoffee pie or the strawberry cheesecake or the custard slice. The most satisfactory solution is to have a go at all three, then you are confident you’ve eaten the best one. Anything else leaves a lingering regret that perhaps the pie wasn’t as good as the others.
So, that’s what I did with the writing and as I worked my way through both options matters became a lot clearer. By the time I’d finished I had a pretty good idea which version was sweetest and most fulfilling. One option seemed a bit thin whereas as I wrote, the other developed into a full-flavour and very satisfying result. Just to be certain, both were packed off to Candice with no indication which I prefered. It didn’t matter – we both liked the same one and for the same reasons.
This sort of literary experiment is new to me but works very well. It’s another stage in the process of becoming a writer. It’s, yet again, more than just writing.
(Note for gluttons: Those cakes can be found at the Woodfield Farm Pub in Doncaster.)