About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Friday 7 October 2011

Re-Writing a Detective Novel

This post is just to reassure you that I haven't disappeared or abandoned my (admittedly flagging) New Year's Resolution. New Things will still be embraced.  Hideous personal challenges will be set.  But this week I've been busy revising my novel MS in the light of feedback from a reader.  Or rather, Reader.  Someone official appointed by my agent to appraise the book.

Her comments sounded curiously familiar.  They are almost word-for-word the same ones I heartlessly dish out to my creative writing students. It starts too slowly.  And perhaps it would be useful to write a plot outline.  Just goes to show it's far easier to see the problems with someone else's work than with your own.

This needs to be a short post.  I am composing it in that brief window of opportunity in which you will still be able to hear my own authentic voice, before the Tobermoray single malt the chancellor brought back from retreat on Iona starts speaking.  In rouhgly thirty sconeds.


  1. Judging by the spelling in your final sentence, the anaesthetic was working...
    Hope that there are only minor revisions to me made, and not a complete re-write.
    You Can Do It. (whatever the "It" turns out to be...)

  2. Oh, dear, should read "...Minor revisions to be made..."

  3. Yes, it was working. That's why I stopped writing. Revisions progressing well though, thanks.

  4. Best of luck with it. You have the really hard part done already. Huge congrats. And thanks for sharing the struggle. We only usually hear from authors after their book is released - shiny, packaged and perfect, but everyone, especially novice writers, appreciate hearing about the cold, hard slog to the finish line. Tell your husband to keep the single malt coming. As David Rakoff says, 'It only gets harder.' He compares writing to pulling out sharp objects. From a delicate area of his anatomy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BwxgXrQ5gI