Wasted paper basket ? No it isn’t.

Kit 47 in waste paper basket 4Phil: I’m glad to read that my esteemed co-writer still likes our book, as I’ve got bucket loads of ideas to improve it. My writing time since our last serious efforts in this direction hasn’t entirely been wasted, there are a couple of new attempts at the early part of the manuscript floating around and I know that a third is soon to be thrown in my direction.

We both agree with some of our test readers that the start of the book is slow. Having fallen into the classic new author trap of spending many pages setting up the story, it takes around a quarter of your reading time before getting stuck properly into the action. Obviously after this it’s a helter-skelter ride of thrills and spills but your average reader doesn’t want to know that if they stick at it good things will happen. They want it NOW !

All this means there is a lot of story won’t see the light of day. As writers, we need to get our heads around this and move on. Just because those words don’t appear in the final version of the book doesn’t mean it was wrong to write them. They are a necessary step along to the road to the perfect story (not that our story isn’t perfect, it’s just not everyone recognises genius when they see it), the base camp before scaling the mountain of publishing. The effort hasn’t been wasted if it helps us towards our goal.

Anyway, they won’t be lost. On my bookshelf I have two earlier versions of the book, one with scribbled in the margins (Thanks Sarah) each of which contain chunks of text since exorcised. One day, when we are famous, JK Rowling, Dan Brown and the 50 shades woman envying our sales figures (if not our actual figures, bloated from the endless promotional tours around the world) these will be worth more than Australia. After all (Olympic joke alert),there’s not much gold in that country ! We will still be able to enjoy them and perhaps even release a sort of DVD extras version of the book with everything ever edited out of it thrown back in.

Anyway, once we get back on track, there will be a new and exciting opener plus, apparently, lots more exciting plot. Best of all, since we both write on computers, the bin won’t need emptying !


Filed under Phil, Publishing, Writing

4 responses to “Wasted paper basket ? No it isn’t.

  1. Christian

    The two pieces of advice that have stuck with me on this subject is 1 – start as close as you can bear to the ending, and 2 – most first novels (and a surprising amount of others!) could lose the first 3 chapters and not suffer that much. You can always sprinkle the most important details back in later?

    • That second piece of advise is pretty much what we’ve managed to work out for ourselves. The trouble is that it’s one of those mistakes you have to make before you understand it. It simply doesn’t make sense until you read the finished article – we all want to beleive that our writing is perfect after all !

      • Christian

        Definitely. You build these precious worlds in your head and assume readers need to know everything before your main character walks out their front door! Sieve gently, mix thoroughly. As with cake (which I gather you have a fondness for).

  2. Pingback: What’s Your Writing Routine? « GIRL IN THE BUTTERFLY DRESS

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