Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Le Grand Réécrire!

It seems like many, many years ago now, that I first embarked on the marathon task of writing my first full length middle grade novel. In actuality, back then I hadn't really encountered the term 'middle grade'. All I really knew was that I had an interesting concept for a story. So let's back track slightly...

In or around 2006, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing a book. I had spent the majority of my youth being creative, either in music or drama. I had played in bands, to varying degrees of success, written songs for my bands, to varying degrees of success, and performed in many plays, to varying... well, I think you get the idea!

I decided it was time to try something different and started on writing. My first idea was a simple premise. I had an initial scene, a hole ridden plot, and a character (loosely based on my younger self) that I thought would be fun to write. 'Argyle' was born. It is a science-fiction adult humour short(ish) story, which was never really completed. Argyle is a space-archaeologist who has a terrible run of luck, goes out on the lash with his best mate and wakes up 1,000 years in the future. He must then use his skills to unearth his own mysterious period of incubation, accompanied by his best mate, who was also frozen in time, and his great26-granddaughter. Suffice to say, it was fun to write, but it was severely lacking in structure.

So effort number two. I dreamt up a great idea in my other favoured genre of fantasy stories. Through some planning and luck, it transpired that the main character would end up being a 10/11 year old girl. I began writing the book and completed it in relatively short order. Then I got busy at work and everything was put on hold.

Years later, I revisited the story, finished things off and tried my hand at self-publishing. It wasn't for me, the market was saturated with slush and it felt that I was just throwing another book into the pile that no one would ever get around to reading. So I back tracked, withdrew the book and began a significant revision (number 3). The revision has now been finished and the word count has been increased from around 27,000 to 50,000+ in just under a month.

And so the real work begins. 50,000 words of 'idea' have been put down in writing and now I have to sort them out into some sort of sense. Improve the dialogue. Make sure that the characters actually develop. Make sure that the world is real, the rules are real. Basically, give the story the best chance I can to being a worthwhile read.

Thankfully I have been helped along the way by some readers on sites such as WriteWords, Scribophile and Twitter (see a review of revision 2 on searchingforharry.com by @breezymarie7). And I have just made contact with a few critique partners to get this edit underway.

The next few blogs will focus on my editing experience as this is the first time I have done this and with no formal training I hope my experiences can help others in my position. Eh bien, mes amis, allez! Wish me luck and I hope to be back soon with an update!