A thought occurred to me while looking over the latest revision of my story Peach (yeah, I’m one of those writers, too much procrastination is never enough), a thought which had basically been around for a little while. You know, something that comes into your head, you’re not quite sure what it is, and it takes a few things to happen to help articulate it for you.
After I wrote Coal House I received a critical review (yeah, I’m one of those writers who doesn’t ignore the critical reviews) which suggested the ending was rushed and didn’t make sense as a result.
I didn’t mind that, I knew the ending wasn’t rushed, but it did make me think that even though others had enjoyed it, even to one person, I hadn’t executed the articulation of it as effectively as I’d have liked. So I became more conscious of making sure I got that right with Mablethorpe.
The start and the end of that story (no spoilers) were there from the conception of the story. So that was never going to change. I was more careful of the way that it was put together. And even though even greater consideration (read : procrastination) was given to the formation of the ending, I knew I wouldn’t be able to please everyone. I received a fantastic review from Beth at Quirks and Queries – amongst the great things she said, one thing was that the ending was abrupt, and felt a bit rushed. However this was balanced by her conclusion that perhaps it was necessary in order to achieve the statement of the lingering message, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Someone may think that it was rushed and miss the greater point, and that’s fine. Or at least I think it will be, we’ll see how I feel when I read or hear that review.
Like I say, I was re-reading Peach and I found myself asking ‘Do I like how this ends? Is it natural? Is this how it is supposed to end?’ but then I asked myself all of these questions with Coal House and Mablethorpe. When you have a work in progress, and I take that to mean anything that you may even feel is complete but has yet to find a definite home with a publisher and a publication date, I think you will always be compelled to ask yourself that question about your story.
For me it goes further. I did say I like to procrastinate. I go to what I feel are key points of the story and wonder if my characters have said what I wanted them to, by saying or not saying something. The feedback for Coal House and Mablethorpe has been that the characters are strong, and that reassures me that I will be hitting the right spots as far as Peach is concerned; Peach is more of a straight up literary fiction experience, it’s certainly not a thriller or a horror, so I feel that the need to identify with the characters is more crucial this time around.
It becomes a little like bonsai when you think you have it right. Pruning here and there, making what you think or hope will be minor amendments, to get it perfect. There are a handful of people who have read it and enjoyed it – do these minor changes, which I hope will enhance the character development, actually ruin everything?
In fact, you can tell me – I’m looking for Beta readers and reviewers for Peach. If you work for a media outlet or a book review website and you wish to get your hands on an advance copy, then get in touch through this website.
Odds are it won’t be the absolute final version of the story. But that’s art!