I bet there’s a point, when you’re two-thirds up climbing a mountain, and you stop and think: oh, what do I do now? You look up the third to go, and down the distance covered and, letting go of the rock, allow yourself to sway a little on the guide rope.
The story so far: an agent expressed interest in my second novel but suggested that an editor look at it, hoping she would be able to tell me how to increase the ‘line-by-line pacing.’ Thus closing the small gap between unpublishable and publishable.
This week, the editor sent me her report. She said there was no point in giving a line-by-line edit because, though well written, the novel had fundamental structural problems. I won’t describe them all because I may be tempted to reach up with a penknife and cut through the only thing holding me to this rock. But, suffice to say, it covered plot, character, structure and tone.
So, well. The view is nice from up here. I’ve come a hell of a distance. I’m philosophical enough to be able to recognise the usual thoughts: ‘I am never going to write anything original,’ ‘It will be impossible to get this piece into shape,’ and my favourite, ‘What’s the point?’
Over the way, birds are circling in ritual fashion, rising on air currents from the plain. I may reach back for my sandwiches. Which is all very lovely, but I’m going to have to do something, aren’t I? To lower myself down, or get back on the rock and start climbing.
Yesterday, I wrote my five-hundred words; today, I wrote my five-hundred words; tomorrow, I will write my five-hundred words.