Got the ball rolling again with Chionophobia. After investing the whole of Saturday and most of Monday, I’ve completed my major edit. You know, any professional authors out there will have to pardon my ignorance, but I’ve never really put into proper practice the terms “rewrite” or “second draft.” What exactly is a rewrite? Is a writer supposed to say, “Okay, I’ve written my novel, but I know I can do it better second time round, so I’m going to start it all over again”? I can’t help thinking this is a piece of ancient terminology from a time when authors used typewriters; they had to type their manuscripts out a second and a third time, because there was no such thing as a delete key to fix mistakes and make improvements. Nowadays, we have word processors; we can change a word here, amend a phrase there, move whole paragraphs about. To me, the editing process is all tweak, tweak, tweak, on the first and only draft I write. I don’t subscribe to the idea that the first version of anything you write is always dreadful. And yet I’ve listened to interviews where writers talk about throwing pages upon pages of prose in the bin, because something’s not quite working. My motto is that if I plan well, I’ll write well. The idea for Chionophobia sat in my head for years before I put a single word down; I didn’t begin until I had the story fully formed.
I’ve now sent the manuscript off to six friends who are willing to proof-read: Alison Quin, Andrew Campbell, Andrew Harrison, Earl Keith, Mark Stevens, Chris Winter. You’ll notice there’s a lady on the team. I’ve heard that it’s hard for men to write women characters, and vice versa. An old girlfriend of mine once chuckled at finding some really “blokey” elements in my writing, so I’m counting on Alison to let me know if I’m making any blunders with my strong female lead character.
By the way, I’m still open to suggestions from anyone on a better title for this story about genetically-modified snow.