Finished! Please May I Leave The Table?

Reading & Writing

Truman Capote once said ‘No book is ever finished. They just take it away from you’. It’s how I feel about every book I ‘finish’, and is certainly true of ‘Dream World’, the longest novel I’ve written for years, if nothing else.

As usual, it started as one kind of book and morphed into something completely different, and I have no idea why. Part homage to J G Ballard, part thriller, part don’t-know-what, it seems to work, but then I’m the only person who has read it so far. It only exists on my laptop, on the flash drive that’s attached to my key-ring, and in my head.

I’ve spent a long time on it. Only yesterday did I realise that I was putting in a rough average of fourteen hour days, for no pay of course because it’s not commissioned, it’s just something I wanted to do. No, scratch ‘wanted’, replaced with ‘needed’.

The usual thoughts go through my head; what if it’s shit? What if it’s good but makes no sense in its present form? Reviewers often start their pieces on me by saying ‘He has lost none of his…’ as if constantly waiting for me to lose my brains. That usually doesn’t happen with writers. The longer you do any job you love, the better you get at it. I would have thought that was blindingly obvious.

Certainly my favourite teachers at school were all in their sixties, and were damned brilliant. Part of the deal is that you must keep proving yourself – that’s fine, because no-one should coast on past success, unless they’re Sting.

So, that’s finished – next up will be ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’. But first – the sun has made a rare London appearance, so I’ll be taking the day off.

11 comments on “Finished! Please May I Leave The Table?”

  1. stonemuse says:

    Happy to read through it if you want … just to check it’s ok 😉

  2. Martha says:

    As I turned 68 yesterday, I was delighted to read those words. Good Luck with the magnum opus.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    “So that’s finished.” I assume it’s off to find a publisher. Otherwise, I’d be pleased to do an additional read through once stonemuse is done with it.

  4. Alan says:

    Fowler has lost none of his ability to titillate and pre-sell his books…

    After you, Helen.

    Except – hmm – Chris? We’ve started taking in harvest from our community garden and orchard – can I tempt you to a bag of spuds, maybe some apples (definitely some apples) – but not the plums. What idiot put an organic toilet right in between the plum trees?

  5. Martin Gore says:

    He’s off again, teasing us with his books(hopefully)-to-be. I’ll add my name to the growing list of proof readers.

  6. I.A.M. says:

    I’ve read one of his “golly, that’s going to be a good book for someone to publish books” and there only a modicum of crap in it. He’s lost none of his ability to put words in an order that mostly matches English Grammar, so that’s something.

  7. BangBang!! says:

    If you can’t find a publisher (and obviously we all hope you can) you could have a go at self-publishing it. You’ve said in the past that it might interest you so perhaps you could dip your toe in the water with this one if you need to? I’d even buy one of those there fancy city e-reader thingies if I had to. Do you know anyone who might have a second-hand one going cheap? 😉

  8. J. Folgard says:

    As always, keep us posted on the publishing side of it. To be honest, I’m not a big Ballard fan, but I hope I’ll get to read this one! Cheers, and enjoy that day off!

  9. Peter Prokes says:

    The best thing about books is that you use your imaginations and not someone else’s.
    50 people can read the same book and come up with 50 different scenarios.
    You just have to love books and the amazingly talented writers.
    Jan Peter Prokes

  10. Mark Pack says:

    Knowing that good weather is between you and writing more Byrant & May has made me cheer on the arrival of rain today…!

  11. Jerry Boyajian says:

    “The longer you do any job you love, the better you get at it. I would have thought that was blindingly obvious.”

    Isaac Asimov, bless his soul, was always quick to give thanks to fans who told him that “Nightfall” was the best thing he ever wrote. But somewhere…perhaps an introduction to the story in one of his collections…he mentioned that it was always frustrating to hear that because “Nightfall” was an early story, and he’d hoped he’d improved since then.

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