I have been at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre for a week putting finishing touches to my second novel. I’ve had my bottom firmly on a desk chair for 12-hour stretches each day, and I now have what I officially call ‘writer’s back’ which is compression in the lower back and a pain between my shoulder blades. I suspect I also have ‘writer’s bottom’ which involves a sort of flattening and widening, with a bit of extra comfort from too many scones and helpings of pudding. But none of this matters, as I have completed the task I set myself and will be returning my novel to my agent in the next few days, so I can go on holiday and put the whole thing to the back of my mind.
Though, I am a tad nervous. There’s always those little buggers that are determined to repeat themselves through your text, which you only pick up on once you’ve laid it to rest for a few weeks: he said, she said; he hesitated, she smiled; he leant forward; she cried. He dropped his head: that’s a good one. She took the stairs. He rushed. She blushed. It’s probably worth doing a ‘find’ on how many times they appear in a chapter/on the page.
The other thing I am quite generous with is colons and semi-colons; so I might have to do a close read on those as well: Blast.
Apparently, publishers are not rushing to take on literary novels right now, and are easily put off. So the product we offer them has to be as close to perfect as is possible. We are no longer just writers, but editors as well.
Perhaps I haven’t quite finished my novel, after all.