We’ve played The Hallelujah Chorus. We’ve bounced around to Bowie’s Let’s dance. We’ve shouted Ole and Hooray several times.
Yes, we’ve finished a first draft.
We have 80,000 words or so – 60,000 of which were written in the last twelve days. We are indeed, with apologies to Sophie Tucker, the red-hot writing Mamas.
We still can’t quite believe what we’ve done. In trying to work out exactly how we’ve managed to get this book into its crappy first draft form, the only metaphor that comes to mind is that of an island.
We’ve been in self-imposed exile on Writing Island. We sailed off somewhere between 8 and 9 each morning and left after a full eight hour day’s work around 4pm.
We weren’t entirely cut off from the world of course – there were strategic trips off-shore for the odd bit of essential shopping. But the reality is that the writing continued even in apparent down-time. We talked about what we were doing over lunch and thought about it when we were making cups ot tea. We did go out a few times at night, but at the end of an eight-hour stint on the island all we really just needed to do was sit, mute, with a glass of wine and some mindless television.
We ended our triumphant day today organising how to work on the text once I go back to the UK. There isn’t going to be any more face-to-face co-writing, no more eight hour days, no more waking up with a new thought about how to organise a chunk of material. We’ve left our Writing Island for good.
We now have to manage revisions – remotely.
So we’ve constructed a formidable diary of reading and skyping. We’ll start by reading the whole text looking for omissions, misplaced sections, and the way we’ve used metaphors and examples throughout the text. We ‘ll then go through the text, chapter by chapter – one chapter per week. A third run-through involves working with bundles of chapters. By the final once-through in mid May (that’s the fourth), we expect to have turned our crappy first draft into the final fabulous version ready to submit to the publisher.
There’ll be no more Writing Island. That’s a relief, but also somewhat sad. I don’t think I can twist Barbara’s arm to write yet another book. However, getting this text revised and finessed will be a constant feature of our lives for another six months.