The time has come to get properly stuck in to a second round of edits on “Naming Names”, and, although I know I shouldn’t, can I just say that this book is getting better and better?
When I started taking art classes ten or twelve years ago, I was frustrated and disappointed with most of what I was doing, but my teacher suggested that I should keep everything, and look back at the work over longer periods of time.
At the end of the first year, I could see how far I’d come. It’s true, many of my early attempts were pretty desperate, but some of them also had little nuggets of promise that proved that one day I might reach the dizzying heights of mediocre. That was more than a decade ago, and, heaven help me, I’m nearly there.
I love to draw and paint, but I’m never going to be the next big thing to hit the art world. I’m never going to be talked about in the same breath as my current favourite artist, Jenny Saville, and that’s absolutely fine by me; at least doing what I do, at least having my little hobby, gives me a lot of pleasure and a teeny tiny insight into what it means to be an artist.
Here’s my point, though: When I come back to the writing... When I come back to a book like “Naming Names” after not looking at it for a month or two, I’m thrilled that it moves me. I’m genuinely excited by what I was able to do, and by the fact that I can see where the nips and tucks need to be made. I get sucked right back into the thing, and I know, instinctively, where it can benefit from changes: from the smallest additions or cuts to the biggest edits and wholesale rewrites.
I always believed in the core of this novel. I always believed in the voice of this protagonist. Now, finally, I’m beginning to believe in the writing.
That’s enough time spent messing about with this blog... I can’t wait to get back to rewriting this book, and that’s after spending twelve hours with it yesterday, and two so far this morning. When it’s working, writing is about the most addictive habit known to woman... Well, this woman, anyway, and I don’t plan to give it up any time soon, or, now that I’ve got going, any time... ever!