The first 30 pages

As I said in the first post I knocked out the first 30 pages of the story and handed it proudly to my wife. When I’d originally said to her I was going to write a book she kind of looked at me with a quizzical expression, and understandably so. If roles had been reversed I’d have probably thought she was mad.

Given that I’d never expressed any interest in doing something like that it was probably a justified reaction.

Anyway, back to the first 30 pages. She read them, she digested them. The basic premise was good, the story was good, but the problem was I had no idea about how to write a book and it started out as an outpouring of words with little structure.

I think it upset her to tell me, but she did it gently and pointed me in the direction of another couple of books I might like to read sections of. Just for examples of how other writers handle descriptions, conversations etc. It’s not like I don’t read books, I think I’m just more used to how I have to write stuff for work.

So I did some reading and then scrapped the first 30 pages. I went back to the drawing board. I think some of the problem is that we’re used to visual stuff, I can say to her ‘look at those trees’ and she’ll look and know exactly what they look like because she can see them. This was probably my first lesson – description. The reader can’t see what’s in my mind and I therefore need to allow them to visualise what I’m seeing.

I know this sounds obvious but unless you consciously sit down to be descriptive you aren’t. Well, in my case anyway, I’m sure other writers will sit down and be descriptive right from the very first page, but for me it was a learning curve.

Those 30 replacement pages and the reaction to them encouraged me on. After handing them to my wife she read them and admitted she could now visualise the garden the first chapter is set in which she couldn’t before.

It’d have been so easy to just stop after the first draft, to have admitted defeat and just drawn a line under the whole thing and regardless of what happens, regardless of whether I get it published, or I decide to self publish, or just bury it in a cupboard it doesn’t matter. I’ve written a book, by all accounts (well from the 4 people who have read it) a pretty good one at that and have gone on to write a second and there will be a third and likely more.

I’m determined that whatever happens with the first book I’ll finish this trilogy, just for my own satisfaction and because there’s nothing worse as a reader than a trilogy that never gets completed (and I’ve read at least one of those, one from a world-famous author). Whether I like it or not I’ve got those four people to read the first two books and it wouldn’t be fair on them to just draw a line under it.

Anyway, it’s something I enjoy doing and that’s the most important thing.


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