Work in progress

Chipping away at the redraft of the new book.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of inserting a sentence or two where I thought I’d successfully captured a scene, but on re-reading discover that it may be in my imagination but it’s nowhere on the page. Elsewhere there are paragraphs to be stitched into the existing text – expanding the action, skewering a character, linking two episodes more smoothly or slicing up indigestible chunks of narrative. There’s cutting to be done too – background research I’ve thrown in because, hey, I’ve done the research, boring over-amplification, as well as purple descriptions or redundant qualifiers (a significant weakness of mine). Occasionally new scenes are called for, complete episodes to be devised and written and (somehow) seamlessly inserted.
It’s complicated. You have to concentrate hard on the detail, and at the same time hold the entire narrative in mind.
There’s always the threat that once you start to unpick, the whole precarious construction will unravel…
Progress has been impeded because I’ve been away on two trips in three weeks. They were planned long ago, before the end of the first draft loomed. The first was to walk a section of the Pennine Way, three long days from Dufton in Cumbria and on up to Hadrian’s Wall. I’m walking the whole route in leisurely chunks, three or four days at a time, and have loved every step so far. Walking helps me to think, and I let the novel luxuriously simmer in my mind as I tramped over the moorland. After that I was crewing aboard a 1934 sailing yawl in a regatta in Italy. Unfortunately I’m not a sailor – although I long to be. For the three days of racing I had to focus every mental and physical fibre, braced to keep out from underfoot whilst being in the right place to make my contribution – all this against the yells of ‘Trim on, trim on, trim, trim, TRIM’ and ‘sheets in the water’ and ‘starboard runner’ and all the rest of the fearsome dialect sailors employ. It was thrilling. We came third in our class. But I didn’t have a shred left over for considering my narrative arc.
Pluses and minuses, then, on the travel front.
Now back at my desk, and I’m staying put until the job’s done. Even if the sun comes out.
Pictures will be in the gallery as soon as I can sift them.

7 thoughts on “Work in progress

  1. You take my breath away with your sheer energy and zest for life, Rosie! 🙂 (Do you ever sleep?) We are the same age but just taking care of a four year old for four hours leaves me totally drained so I definitely want some of what you’re on! 🙂 Good luck with the editing – can’t wait to read the final result.

    • Hi – thanks for choosing The Kashmir Shawl for your book group. I don’t have a formal topics sheet, I’m afraid, because groups tend to vary. Those discussions I have been along to personally usually focus on whether the dual narrative deepens or interrupts the momentum, on the historical influence of the Raj, on issues in present-day Kashmir, moral perspectives and differences between 1940s and present day, etc. Do email me if you would like further help – rosie@dircon.co.uk

  2. I find your description of the process or re-drafting of enormous interest. Would you mind if I ask what percentage of the changes are coming from you, personally as compared to suggestions from your editing team? Many thanks.

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