Last night I asked my husband whether he wanted to know about a particular plot point that I had worked out in “Plank 2”, and he said no, that he wanted to wait and read the full first draft. I know it’s not a particularly revelatory comment, but it’s jolly lonely being a writer. And actually quite difficult, because you need to split your mind in two: you need to be both writer and reader.
Let me try and make more sense. I am writing a crime novel – set in 1825, granted, and focussing on financial crime, but a crime novel at its heart. And such a novel demands secrets and suspense. The trouble is, I know all the secrets, and the suspense is self-generated – a bit like trying to jump out on yourself, which isn’t scary at all. So I have to look at what I have written, and try to imagine reading it for the first time – I have to try and forget what I know, and pretend that the story is being revealed to me piecemeal. And that’s surprisingly hard to do. (And it means that I will be relying heavily on my lovely test readers – Roy, I’m looking at you with big, pleading eyes, if you can bear it again…)