Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Tuesday 2 October 2012

From Descartes to Freud in One Easy Dream Sequence

It’s funny what we worry about and how we worry about it.

On Friday, I sent the latest draft of “Naming Names” off to my lovely agent. I wrote about it here; many of you probably read about it, and some of you wished me luck. Thank you.

I thought it was done and dusted. I thought that was it until I heard the outcome. I thought I could get on with other things until some sort of determination had been made, either by my lovely agent or by the editors she planned to send the manuscript out to.

Then something happened. Then my lovely friend Rebecca Alexander’s first novel came under offer, or at least a publisher threatened to put a package together, and wheels began to turn. However, wheels turn slowly in this business... very, very slowly. 

I’m in a good position to know this. The husband, as you are all aware, writes. He’s written more than forty novels and thousands of comic books. He’s written games and audio dramas and even a movie, so I have a pretty good idea, albeit second hand, of just how slowly the wheels can turn. I know that projects can take months or years to get a green light, and then more months or years to come to fruition.

I know, for example, that one of his novels began as an idea in the middle eighties and wasn’t published until more than two decades later. Wheels, you see, can move painfully slowly.

Let’s get back to this, though; let’s get back to me and “Names” and lovely Reb. 

Apparently, I am empathic.

Apparently feeling for Rebecca and her plight, which, intellectually, and having read two of her novels, I know will end well - I know I will see her novels in print, and I know people will like them - I also know that no publisher would indicate that they are putting together an offer and then change his mind... Anyway, thinking about Reb clearly did something very weird to my psyche, because, last night, I had a dream.

Freud would have a field day!

I was in the meeting.

I was in the meeting with all the editors from all the publishing houses (yes of course I know they wouldn’t all be in the same room, and they wouldn’t be there with me and my lovely agent, but it was a dream, remember). I was in the meeting with all the editors from all the publishing houses discussing the merits and weaknesses of “Naming Names”, and suddenly the air was filled with a cacophony of planes flying overhead, of jackhammers in the street, of buildings being demolished and of a thrash metal band playing in the next room.

That’s OK, I’m pretty hard of hearing, and, so long as I know the gist of what’s going on, I can pick up quite a lot of a conversation by lip-reading, except, everyone moved in closer to hear each other, and suddenly, heads were in the way of faces, and I couldn’t even rely on my eyes any more. 

It was driving me crazy.

I woke up thinking that if only I could have heard what they were saying... If only I could have seen their faces... 

If only...

If only what? 

I am not, despite my many talents, a mind reader.

It makes me wonder, though. It makes me wonder whether, deep in the recesses of my mind I am not equipped with that knowledge. It makes me wonder whether I don’t already know the merits and weaknesses of my novel, whether I don’t already know what editors might actually think of “Naming Names” when they get their hands on it.

If that’s true... If that’s really true...

Do you see the torture we writers are capable of putting ourselves through?

Do you?


  1. any dream that involves thrash metal has to be a good omen! ;)

  2. I have no doubt that Freud would call that an anxiety dream! What we don't know winds us up - we can't force it. I'm reading Names today, not as helpful, but a fantastic read! A beautiful book...x