I took a bit of a break over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. I didn’t stop working, but had a rest from the current book. I went back over some of my published works and checked them. I had revamped them all earlier in the year. To my horror, I discovered that I had missed one – and it was my biggest book, ‘Rutter’s Revolt’. Don’t get me wrong, if you read it, you are very unlikely to notice the lingering errors because they are so minor. But I noticed them, and expended some effort in expunging them. Having done so, I turned my attention to the subsequent Rutter books: ‘The Secret Angels’, Rutter Reborn’ and ‘The Hunted Angel’. Fortunately, these required little or nothing in the way of revision because I did a proper job the first time. I will also run my other works through the checker over the next few months, just to make sure.
This week, I turned my attention back to ‘A New Allegiance’, having had a few weeks away from it because my brain was complaining at all the work it was having to do. It, too, has gone through the treatment. I started again at the beginning and worked my way through to the point I reached just before Christmas, revising and improving as I went. It is a stronger book for it. The word count currently stands at about 85,000, so it has reached the point where it ceases to be a novella and becomes a novel in its own right. My earliest works were not much longer than this. I expect that the final count will be in the region of 110 – 120,000 words, so there is still some way to go.
One positive aspect of this process is that I have made a crucial plot decision. I knew how I wanted the story to develop from the point where I had reached, but I was uncertain how to achieve it. Now, I am certain. All that is required is for me to reintroduce a particular character earlier than I had intended. This is a snag that I encounter regularly when creating a book. What is written is written. I know where I want to go next, but linking the two can be a problem. Invariably, the answer is revealed to me by going back through the text and examining it thoroughly.
I am not ashamed to admit this. When going over the Battle of Britain sequences, which are told from the point of view of people on the ground, there are passages that bring tears to my eyes. This sounds crazy. I wrote those passages! But they mean a lot to me. We hear a great deal these days about what a terrible place the UK is, and how we should all be permanently ashamed of everything we have ever done. Whenever I hear talk like that, I think about my parents’ generation and how they fought off overwhelming odds eighty years ago so that their children might be free. They were heroes. I will never be ashamed of that.
Happy New Year to everyone.