Being mentored through my first draft is proving hugely beneficial. I’m learning faster than I expect I could through any other route I could follow whilst maintaining a full-time working life. I’m also convinced that my draft is already tighter and more compelling by a considerable margin, than I could ever make it without my mentor’s guidance.
The downside – and it’s not a downside as such – is the more I learn, the more I realise how much my earlier writing (perhaps the first third or more of the draft) will have to change. I have a good grasp of what I need to do. When I come to edit I’ll be discarding great chunks of that first third (including one or two of those hard-to-murder darlings), rewriting scenes, re-engineering characters, checking and double-checking the integrity of my POVs, verifying research, modifying language and probably crying myself to sleep every night. But even now, almost finished with my first draft and anticipating the rout, I’m excited about how it’s all coming together.
I wonder, am I optimistic or naive when I permit myself to think I may just have the makings of a good read on my hands? When I allow myself to dream that I can smell the freshly printed pages; that I can hear myself reading to a room full of people and answering questions on why I chose this or that setting, or what prompted me to bring such-and-such a character to the story; that I can feel the weight of the pen in my hand as I sign copies of my debut novel at a fashionable literary festival; that I can see my Facebook page packed with likes as I update fans on when my second novel is due; that I can feel the chill of the air-conditioned room, with fresh fruit and Danish pastries on the table, where I’m discussing my forthcoming TV mini-series with media executives… (OK, maybe that’s a bit far-fetched, but this is a dream, right?).
But for now it’s another day and another 1,000 words before breakfast. Oh yes, and it’s about time I set up that Facebook page.