Well, here I am at the end of my first full day of my writing retreat. (It took a day to get out here, then two days to settle in – big supermarket shop, etc. – and spend a bit of time with my husband before he set off home for our month apart.) Before I went to bed last night I set up my laptop, printer and other paraphernalia in my new writing spot – dining table, with a view over the balcony down into the valley – so that I wouldn’t have any excuse not to get started straight away today.
First job of the day was to read through everything I have written so far – and it was quite a pleasant surprise. I found that (a) I have written more than I had remembered, and (b) some of it is quite good. (Some of it is utter tosh, but let’s focus on the positive.) By doing this, I have already spotted some inconsistencies (a man started a chapter with only one child and ended it with two – and no, it wasn’t a birth scene – while a woman took her gloves off twice without putting them back on in between). And perhaps more importantly I can see places where I need some “bridging” to join rather disparate bits of the plot together. So it seems that we have two conflicting needs at play: having distance from the novel enables me to see more clearly where it is not working, but in order to progress, I need to immerse myself in it. Perhaps I need to aim to have my first draft finished at the end of this retreat (should be possible…) and then not start editing immediately, but rather leave it for a couple of weeks and come to it with a fresh eye.