Friends and family often say to me ‘oh, it must be lovely to be a writer’, as if they have a vision of me sitting in a summerhouse surrounded by flowers, sipping from a glass of wine and tapping out stories on an old typewriter. Presumably, they’ve seen one too many writers in old movies, because the reality is very different.
Take today, for instance. I’m up to the third draft on a new crime novella. First draft was the real rough-and-ready, get-it-down-on-paper-before-you-forget-the-idea version. Second draft was more of the same, plus a bit of polishing/rewriting and some additional scenes and explanations. Third draft could best be described as ‘the devil’s in the detail’. I’m going through my print-out line by line, checking the facts, the flow, the spelling, or whether I’ve contradicted something I said three paragraphs ago. The manuscript is peppered with scribbled comments, and if I list a few here it’ll give you some idea of the sheer minutiae writers have to bear in mind when they’re tidying up their work:
*Check that details of various jobs match
*Mention baby’s father
*Check loft scene doesn’t go on too long
It’s all good fun really and I still love it, but tapping away in that summerhouse it ain’t.