Last week I printed the 190 pages of a novel I've been writing for ages. It started off as short stories that were published in the early 1990s. Then the book went out of print after the publisher died and the business changed hands, resulting in the end of several good projects and not just my little book. For years I didn't even look at the file, then I decided one day to make a novel out of it. In 2000 I started painting a lot and forgot all about it, but for the last few months I've been writing again and actually finished it twice before continuing it to the length it is now, about 106 thousand words. For months I went to sleep every night inventing the story-line. The characters are strong and really it has been a case of inventing things for them to do and seeing how they get on with it!
Little did I think how complicated moving on from what is to all intents and purposes a first draft would be. I realised that in the years between starting it and finishing it, I have not only aged by nearly 20 years, but my writing has actually improved a lot. The first half needed a lot of stylistic alterations; the second half is more complicated in structure and needs careful scrutiny for incongruities. What started out as harmless, whimsical stories has developed into quite an intricate tale. I'm relieved that the characters are coping well and it's been exciting falling back on characters that were only mentioned when I started writing, but have gradually developed real lives.The working title is "Friends for Life".
The next dilemma will be how to publish (if at all). Ebooks are now taking off with a vengeance and even great authors are choosing to publish online (Amazon Kindle) and even spurning their Pbook publishers. I'm going to wish for a Kindle for my birthday.