24 April 2007

Why Write?

A colleague drew my attention to this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/magazine/6582955.stm.

Why write? This is my reply:

Computers, spell-checkers, auto-correct, and editing software have certainly made writing a novel much easier. Thankfully, though, there is still no substitute for talent, and you still need the discipline for the hard day-by-day slog.

I started writing a novel simply because is was a challenge I could undertake with a laptop during the downtime when I commute (two 20 minute slots per day). I had no idea whether I had the staying power to make it even to the end of the first draft. Five re-writes, three years, and a lot of editing later, I am finished. I don’t expect it to find a publisher, but I will try anyway, because that is the next logical step in bringing the characters alive – who knows, it may be just what the publishing industry is craving and I may yet see it in print. I’ve started a second novel with a much better idea of where I’m going, what I’m doing, how to do it, and what the market wants. I reckon this second novel will take me only two years and only three re-writes. This time the first six months will involve a lot more planning than writing.

Why a second novel? I’ve got the bug now. I’ve created one novel so I can legitimately call myself a writer, now I want to get published so I can call myself an author. Besides, what do you do after the first novel, just give up? Let my characters die off? They are great characters, I want them to live in other people’s minds as well as my own, and for that to happen I need to create a novel for them which publishers want to sell.

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