Time to edit the novel

Today, on World Poetry Day, I’m going to talk about novel writing and editing.

This week my six-week online editing course started (with The Writers’ Workshop tutored by Debi Alper and Emma Darwin), and I’ve already completed my first homework and started to get feedback. Obviously I can’t take you through the intricacies of the course: you frankly wouldn’t want to hear them or you’d be doing one yourself, and I’d probably get done for breach of Top Secret editing inside knowledge and wind up talking to the fishes under some south London bridge.

My current WIP (work-in-progress) is reaching the last five-metre slow-mo bit of the race. Not a sprint, not exactly a marathon. More a middle-distance race really. Something a younger Seb Coe would have run. Without his later politics spoiling it, of course, though his cameos in Twenty Twelve redeemed him a bit. Stretching its neck out to stick its nose over the line first. I’m sure my course will help me with appropriate metaphors, probably in Week 3. We’re doing Plot and Structure first. I’m hoping by this time next week I’ll have decided whether or not my current planned ending is as rubbish as I fear it is, and we’ll be handed out the magic Plot Pills to zing our brains into thinking up a better one. (I may have dreamed the Plot Pills. I’m not sure any more – quite short of sleep.)

Anyway, I’m plunging into this course fresh from the realisation that despite having submitted hilarious and original sketches for five out of the six week run of BBC’s Newsjack, not one of them made it into a show. I even did a few one-liners this week, but nada.

Negativity aside, the plan is that in six weeks I’ll have a complete first draft of my novel, ready to edit to death and submit. This is my second novel. It has less Nietzsche in than my first, and more jokes. I think that is probably a good thing, though when I’ve learned all about editing I may well dig out the philosophical one and stir it up a bit to see if it’s any good. It had an agent once (wistfully) so there must be something good in it.

Sorry about my rambling. Structure, you see? I need to learn it. Stand by for next week’s lessons.