Monday, 13 April 2009

Pausing for breath


I began my current work-in-progress, the fourth Lake District Mystery, on New Year’s Day, 2008. It seemed like pretty good timing, since the story of The Serpent Pool opens on New Year’s Eve. And late last night, Easter Sunday, I finally reached the end of the first draft.

So, nearly sixteen months to produce a first draft. Rather longer than I usually take, but it’s been a hectic year, with a variety of ups and downs. Pressures of different kinds have slowed my progress, but I’m truly grateful for the many good things that have happened since 1 January last year, and especially indebted to those wonderful friends who have supported and encouraged me in many much-needed ways – certainly too many to mention right now.

It’s been a demanding book to write, because I have tried to come up with a really interesting and unusual story. A book in a series does not have to be written to a formula – in fact, it’s better if it isn’t. But it has felt like a long haul, and it’s no coincidence that I started and finished the first draft on public holidays – when working full-time, writing hours are at a premium during a normal week.

I don’t have a clue how people will react to the book, and soon I will submit it to the questioning eye of agents and editors. There may be a need for re-writing, and the book won’t appear on the shelves any time soon. Publication at some point in 2010 is what I’m aiming for.

But right now, I just fancy pausing for breath!

10 comments:

Pradeep Kathait said...

Masterpiece.....

Jilly said...

I shall look forward to reading it next year.

Barbara said...

Congratulations! I hope you don't get those postpartum blues. Sometimes it's tough to leave that imaginary world you've been immersed in, especially when you're not sure how others will respond to it. And you're never sure, or so I've heard from authors who have every reason for confidence.

David Cranmer said...

Congrats and isn't it a good feeling when you can pause... I'm looking forward to reading it and I hope the rest of your '09 is just as productive.

Scott Parker said...

Way to go! There is nothing, nothing like the euphoria of putting that last period on a draft. I've only done it once--to date--but I remember the feeling and aim to experience it again later this year.

So, what's your usual next step? Do you let the story rest for a bit and then revise? Do you send it to your editor now? Just curious.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks very much for these comments.
Barbara, as you say, one is never really sure. And even with books that do well, years later, I think of ways I might have improved them...
David - you're dead right, it is a good feeling!

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Scott - for me, the next step is to send it to my agent. But she's away next week, so I'm not absolutely sure I can resist the temptation to do a bit more tinkering before I send it off to her.
In an ideal world, I'd leave the manuscript for several weeks before looking at it again, but timetables and deadlines don't allow me that luxury.

Dorte H said...

Congratulations! - and you can rest assured that some of us are looking forward to it.
And 2010? That should give me a chance to catch up. I have read the first 50 pages of The Cipher Garden and it is such a pleasure. Daniel Kind´s delving in the past of their cottage is so promising that I find myself slowing down - because I don´t want this to end too soon.

BooksPlease said...

Congratulations from me too.

I just finished reading The Cipher Garden last week - I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd read The Arsenic Labyrinth first then The Coffin Trail, so I'm really pleased to know there's another book on the way!

Martin Edwards said...

Thank you, ladies. BooksPlease,I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. And Dorte, I hope you find the story as a whole lives up to expectations.