Today I carried out the self-imposed task which I had been dreading and looking forward to almost equally: I re-read the draft of ‘The Lion and Unicorn Quest’ I wrote in November. This is probably the scariest moment during the writing process, especially if the whole thing has been written in a rush, to a deadline, without any time to review chapters as you go along.
I may be fooling myself – I do that sometimes, for the amusement as much as anything else – but I think I actually have the kernel of quite an interesting novel there. The beginning reads a bit awkwardly, as I try to force myself into a Fifties mindset and style of dialogue, but by the end I was more relaxed, as indeed were the characters. The gap in the plot I noticed even as I was going along is still there, of course, and I have very little idea of how to fill it but knowing the final outcome will help with that. The plot hangs together better than I remember, which is a relief as I thought I had added one twist too many and confused myself. I still have to jump through all the usual hoops such as sentences in the wrong order, over-used words and so on. My point of view shifts may not be clearly enough signalled so I will have another look at that. And in spite of my best efforts I am sure some phrases have crept in which weren’t in use during the 1950s and will have to be ruthlessly culled at some stage.
I think I have only two fairly major concerns about ‘The Lion and Unicorn Quest’ at this point. One is that astronomical feeling again. Should I write more in this novel to explain some of the events referred to in a couple of early chapters? Or should it go in a separate story, novella or novel? I am tending towards the separatist solution to this one. My other main concern is about my final chapter, which I absolutely love – it’s perhaps my favourite of all the chapters I’ve ever written. The only problem with it – which may not be a problem at all – is the deliberate loose end that is left dangling. I’m afraid this will be frowned on by some readers.
And so the editing process begins.