Wading through Treacle, or Why Didn't I get it Right the First Time (Cecilia Peartree)
Either because of an inevitable slowing down that comes with age, or because of various seasonal factors, it has taken me far longer than I wanted to finish the edits for my latest novel. Of course I hope it's just the latter, and in fact I do have a full set of excuses to hand, ranging from having to collate and send out the paperwork for an AGM held inexplicably in mid-December, to the largest radiator in the house having sprung a leak about the same time, just as the weather turned colder and we had a series of winter storms. Because of the resulting low temperatures downstairs in our house I have had to spend more time upstairs than usual, and as a result of this I've almost never had the right computer in the right place with all the notebooks, diaries etc that I rely on to keep myself on track. At the time of writing the heating engineers have just replaced the radiator with a very nice new one so I am hoping that's the signal for my brain to come out of hibernation, coinciding as it does with the festival of Imbolc. The car has now broken down instead, but that's another story.
The novel I've been working on is the sequel to a mystery I published early last year, which at least means I can recycle some of the characters, not that doing that necessarily means I can keep track of their names any more easily! I also discovered during the edit that the chapters were very uneven in length, there were numerous occasions when people either told each other things several times or not at all, and one or two of them had acquired an annoying habit of starting each bit of dialogue with the word 'So'. There are people in real life who do this and it's nearly as annoying there as it is in a novel.
I think the last straw was when I found they'd been eating sandwiches at all hours of the day and night! Attacked in the shrubbery? I'll just make you a couple of ham sandwiches. Broken up with your partner? Sandwiches will help with that! Explaining everything to the rest of the characters? Best done with a plate of sandwiches to hand. I am actually not very keen on sandwiches myself, being more likely to eat cheese and crackers as a quick meal or even cheese and crisps if I feel even lazier, so I don't know where all these sandwiches have come from. Still, in one of my other mystery series they tend to binge on doughnuts at regular intervals, so perhaps the sandwiches are my idea of keeping my characters healthy, or my subconscious trying to keep me from the really bad stuff.
Anyway, I am about to publish the novel in question, entitled 'The Watcher in the Shrubbery'. I am slightly anxious about this, as the first novel in the (so far very short series) involved an accident at Cramond, and not very long after publishing it I had an accident not very far from there. This current one starts with a tree falling on someone's conservatory, and as I write this, there is a tree looming over our conservatory, so I just hope I'm not tempting Fate.
Next week I shall be taking part in a podcast on the theme of inspirations. I've never had anything to do with a podcast before, so I might feed back on that next month.