I found a great way to sort out my Acer#4 concern this week. It was simple, quick and painless, and I didn’t feel the need to butcher any of what I’d already written. My yardstick for my writing is whether I’m ‘happy’ with it – generally that’s proved quite a reliable measure regarding how readers will feel about the books – and now I am.
If you don’t want to know what I did don’t read the rest of this paragraph… What I did was move chapter fifteen to the beginning of the story and called it chapter one. It works. I’m ‘happy’ with the result. And I haven’t given anything away there that wouldn’t become obvious immediately on starting the book.
I’ve added to the word count this week but not at the rate that I was with R&M#7. Extenuating circumstances on the child-minding front, for one thing. For another, I always seem to end up having to do some online research for my Acer books and that takes time. But what I’m learning is really interesting. I just feel a little guilty that the time I’m spending on the project isn’t all going into writing the thing. Well it is, obviously, but you know what I mean. Probably.
Another thing that got in the way of progress with Acer this week is that I had a run through Unhappy Families (R&M#6). I read it over two days. I like it. I like to think it will be able to hold its head up in the R&M canon. There’s only one thing that has given me a nagging doubt over the first go at it with the highlighters: I hardly marked the manuscript at all. And most of my marks are to do with punctuation or words repeated too closely together for my liking. I’ve changed nothing of the structure. I haven’t shifted any paragraphs about. (I did delete one redundant paragraph.) Usually the first run through adds a lot of pink or blue or green or yellow or orange to the black and white. At the moment I’m thinking that either A: I’m getting better and more accurate at writing a first draft. (Didn’t Malcolm Gladwell say something about ten thousand hours of practice making one an expert in something?); B: I’m getting less observant (going a bit blind) or C: these days I’m just highly conceited about the quality of my writing. Let’s see what happens after the next go.
(I wonder if I’ve still got the receipt for those high-lighters.)
Did anyone else see that Amazon is opening bookshops now?
I’m currently reading a hugely enjoyable book called March Violets. It’s the first in the highly successful and critically acclaimed Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr. Gunther is a wise-cracking PI in Nazi Germany.
As well as being an enjoyable read it’s reinforcing something for me as both a reader and a writer. I like to be made to laugh with the written word, especially in a crime novel. Kerr has given me a few chuckles. One priceless witticism is where Gunther refers to the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute as fingernail inspection. Lots more in there that are new to me. I like it a lot. I think I’ll be reading more of Bernie Gunther.
(Since starting this post on Friday I’ve read more of the Gunther novel. About fifty percent in a woman comes into his life – to labour a point, someone he’s never met before or heard anything about aka a total stranger! – who he proceeds to start using immediately as a confidant and partner investigator. He sends her out on an intelligence finding mission and then takes her to a breaking and entering he needs to do. WTF? I’m not finished with the book yet. I sincerely hope that she gets shot in the head soon or something. Shame because Bernie Gunther was shaping up as a decent loner gum-shoe type.)
PB: 5km 19.54