The Endgame

I'm coming to the end of writing the new tvdetective book, which is proving an experience both exhilarating and worrying.

The pleasure is seeing all the work come to fruition. The actual penning of the thing takes me about three months, on average.

But there were another six months or so of planning first, and this isn't the end of it by any means. Wasn't it that rather talented writer Hemingway who said "the first draft of anything is s**t"?

Which means there are plenty of re-writes to come - usually five or six - before the manuscript even gets to the agents and publishers, and then some more re-jigging to follow that.

In all, the process of publication takes about two years. But the completion of a first draft is a big moment, requiring lots of work and discipline, so I'm allowing myself a little self-satisfaction.

Incidentally, here's something odd I've learnt on this writing journey, which I so often go on about in these blogs.

It's not to rush the ending. It's an easy temptation, often because I want to see how things turn out myself (and I know that sounds daft as I've planned it, but I genuinely want to be able to enjoy the denoument as it materialises on the page.)

I've read many a book which has been very good, right up to the end... but which then feels rushed and spoils it all - because it's often the ending we remember the most.

So, I'm trying to restrain myself and take it easy on the last ten thousand words.

But there's another reason for that, too. In truth, I'm a little scared of how I'll feel when the first draft is complete.

It's been my companion for so many months now that I know I'll miss it terribly when it's done. So, I'm maximising the time we have left together.

I've also learned that in order to lessen the fall when the writing is done, I need to line up a new project to distract myself. And happily, just such a prospect is within reach; I'm taking a whole weekend's course in crime writing in Torquay in October, so I need to start working on that.

For now though, I shall enjoy the final days of my romance with the first draft of the new book, treating it with all the love and tenderness it deserves, because - like all love affairs - we both know we'll never see these seminal days again.