These last weeks, I have returned to a novel I first started writing in 2007. I have enjoyed reacquainting myself with the characters. The last time I had touched this manuscript was late June 2011, and it looks like only for about fifteen minutes. Wow, a decade ago. Well, we have been busy in that time.
I feel reenergised working on this novel again. In the space of a month, I have completed the rough bones of all the chapters — something that alluded me through all those years. Now comes the hard work of editing it into shape. I have set myself the ambitious target of completing that in four months. A random date chosen purely on the basis that my first novel will be with its editor until the end of February.
Will I achieve that goal? Who knows? Perhaps I will rediscover this manuscript in another decade, still unfinished. But I hope not. I want these characters to see the light of day. I want others to get to know them, as I have. It’s funny the way these fictional characters take on a life of their own as you write them, as if you’re not in control of your typing fingers.
Here, the pleasure of writing, far away from the stinging critiques of the gatekeepers of literary standards. Must we forever care what the critics think? Can we not write for the pure pleasure of it?