For the past ten days I have been busy rejigging gargoyles. Not dancing which might be fun, but restructuring my latest Adventure of Letty Parker. “A Gathering of Gargoyles” is the fifth book in the series. I never intended to write so many, then Peter Coleborn asked about the role played in Letty’s world, by the dragons and gargoyles and in a workshop I was doing with home schooled children at the New Vic Theatre one of the girls mentioned the effects of pollution in cities. From those two prompts came a whole new story that demanded to be told.
The book, begun in lockdown, was I thought ready. Jan, my editor, did not agree. In her opinion I had a good story but one which lacked tension as there were too many climaxes in the narrative. When I got her email I was tempted to give up. The book had not been easy to write and it was obviously rubbish. Select All followed by Delete was the way forward. On the other hand, since I had already spent so much time on it, maybe the answer was to look at the problems and see if they could be fixed. A phone call with Jan later, I was feeling much more positive and the rejigging began.
Re-ordering the events in two thirds of the book was really hard work. Re-writing would have been easier than moving a chapter here, a few paragraphs there. My office was drowning in pieces of paper where I had written a synopsis of the book as it stood, then slotted in the changes. For some reason this was easier to do on paper than on screen.
At times my head felt it was exploding. My eyes were sore, but I kept going. Or tried to. Every time I set aside a day to get on with the work, something happened. Last Thursday was a classic. I had just sat down at my desk when the window cleaners arrived. Because of the way our house is positioned they have to go through it to get to the back, so I couldn’t just sit there and let them get on with it.
No sooner had they gone, then a friend called with a punnet of freshly picked blackberries from her allotment. After a cup of tea in the garden, it was time for lunch and after lunch it was too hot to work in my office. And so it went on.
Nevertheless, I snatched every free moment and finally, on Sunday morning, when I would usually be writing this blog, the rejigging was done.
Now I have to hope that it works as well as I thought. Fingers crossed.