‘No news’1st February 2021
Stages of writing a novel.
- Have vaguest of ideas and spent several months just thinking about this idea, writing notes on phone which you believe will almost certainly earn you the Booker.
- Realise the deadline for book is coming up sharpish and sit down to write the thing.
- Remember you’ve written a load of brilliant notes on your phone. Read notes. Internal organs shrivel with shame.
- Spend a few months groaning behind computer, wondering why you wanted to be a writer and wishing you’d become one of those people who waves directional paddles at airplanes like the school aptitude test suggested in the first place.
- Finish first draft. Send draft to editor.
- Brief spell of euphoria (five minutes tops).
- Editor comes back a week or so later saying lovely supportive things but also suggests ‘a few changes’.
- Repeat stage four to write second draft except you have less time to do it.
- Send second draft to editor.
I’m not saying this is how Hilary Mantel does it but I’ve just reached stage nine. I clicked send on the second draft of my fourth book this morning and went for a celebratory walk (what else?). There are obviously a few more stages after this, but that’s where I am now so I’m going to leave you on this cliffhanger until I’ve done them all. I think I can officially announce the title…later this month? So there’s another exciting diary date for you. I’m v tickled by this new book’s cover, just approved and also revealed shortly.
Otherwise, no news (anyone else having these phone calls at the moment? I ring my mum/dad/step-mother/sibling/friend and we discuss what we ate for dinner before both sighing and saying ‘no news otherwise’. A few weeks ago, my friend Holly and I managed a good 20-minute conversation about the correct temperature to eat soup.)
Um…what else? I saw a parakeet clean the head of another parakeet in the wood this morning. That was pretty gripping.
Oh yes, actually, I’m v honoured to be part of a new writing competition The Telegraph have launched. It’s for 13-18 year olds and all details are HERE. Deadline three weeks today, or 22 Feb. The columns I’ve written in the past month or so for the Tel are HERE. I wrote something mad about making kimchi for The Times HERE (featuring a picture from a couple of years ago when I’d just tried Botox for the first time and my cheeks have gone a bit Cilla Black). Not much else to post because I’ve had to say no to all other freelancing while flailing around with the draft.
I just finished reading someone else’s properly brilliant book which has gone straight into my top five favourites of all time – Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. Really recommend if you need a pick-me-up that isn’t wine.
Also, I regret to inform you that Gail’s has changed its hot chocolate recipe and I’m not at all sure it’s for the better.
I think that’s everything. Hope you’re all safe and much love from Crystal Palace X