1. On Sunday, I went out in my car (essential shopping, not a jolly!), for what should have been a 25-minute round trip and got stuck in the snow!
It’s hilly around here, so on the way home (in what had suddenly changed from ‘light snow’ to a huge snowstorm), as I tried to navigate a very sharp bend, on a steep hill, the car stopped and I couldn’t get going again!
I did manage it in the end, by clearing the snow around the wheels and inching up the hill but it was scary, driving in those conditions. Hmm, I won’t be doing that again in a hurry.
2. This morning we had a wasp (!) in the bedroom, on the Velux window (see above) and I called my OH in to let it out (he is the insect remover in this house) which he did by swinging the Velux window up and hitting me so hard on the head with the other end of it that I fell over! Ouch.
The second draft of my novel has finally left the building – phew – and I have a little rest until I get the verdict.
It’s taking me a long time to write this novel so I have been investigating how long it takes other people:
Marian Keyes (who writes HUGE tomes) admits that ‘she’s a slow writer at the best of times, taking around two years per novel’
But that’s nothing compared to Donna Tartt, who publishes one of her brilliant novels once a decade.
One of my favourite wartime novels, ‘Their Finest Hour and A Half’, by Lissa Evans, took her 7 years to write. She says in this interview, “I write incredibly slowly and I re-write ruthlessly as I go along – honing, polishing, moving, cutting, changing – stripping back the sentiment, trying to nail the humour and crisp up the dialogue, aiming above all for clarity.”
Hurrah! Not that I’m comparing myself to the brilliant Lissa Evans but that’s sort of how I write too. And it’s exactly what all the textbooks and experts tell you not to do.
She also admits that she has a short attention span. “If I glance at the clock and five minutes have gone by, I count that as a record-breaking feat of concentration.”
Frances Quinn, author of the recently-published ‘The Smallest Man’, her debut novel set in the time of the English Civil war (and which is definitely on my ‘TBR’ list) told me on Twitter when I asked her, that it had taken her four years to write.
And in this article, she says she wrote 7 drafts and from the first to the last, only about a third of the words are the same, which I found very comforting in one way (but. erm, does that mean I have to do another 5 drafts?!)
But not everyone is slow! I’m sure it’s pure chance that all the ‘slowies’ I’ve quoted, including myself, are women and the speed-demon I’m about to talk about is a man, but bestselling author Robert Harris wrote the bulk of his latest novel ‘V2’ in the first lockdown, spending ‘four hours every morning, seven days a week for fourteen weeks’.
His editor read his manuscript in weekly instalments and made comments, so in a way there were two of them writing it (That’s what I’m telling myself anyway). I know all this, by the way, not because I asked him on Twitter but because my OH had the book for Christmas and it’s in the acknowledgements at the back.
Between you and me and the gatepost, OH’s verdict (and he is a BIG fan of RH), is that it’s good but it’s..shhh.. ‘not his best’.
So there you go, I rest my case. He should have taken much, much, much longer to write it.