Inside the Fiction Factory – Part 35

The Kill Switch

I have finished up draft 4 of my work in progress called The Kill Switch. Draft 5 is now being prepared. This draft is formatted, double-spacing, wide margins, header, Time Roman 12pt, and looks good. My impression of the novel changes once it appears this way and is really useful for catching anything I have missed in the text.

I have a couple of points to make a decision on. For example, Ben, from the first book The Kill Chain, was only known as Ben. There was no requirement to mention his surname and there was no natural point to work it in. However, I need his surname for The Kill Switch, so had to check back the first book to confirm I really didn’t use his surname. An example of a minor point, but it is the type of thing that crops up at this stage and eats up time. Other examples include confirming if a character knows something or not and to make sure I haven’t written something on the assumption that they are fully aware or not as the case may be. Readers can spot these things far easier than authors can. I know everything that is going on in the plot; I must never assume all of my characters do too.

This is a cybercrime novel so inevitably there are some issues to resolve with how I describe and use technology, but also make it understandable and readable to anyone, regardless of their knowledge or background. There is also one plot point which I believe would happen in real life as I have written it, but I will need a second opinion on this. I’m feeling good about it though. My ‘to fix list’ is quite short at this stage, so the effort I put in during the previous drafts appears to have paid off.

I’m reaching the point now where I need a second opinion. I don’t have anyone to read previous drafts and discuss how the story is evolving. At this point in time I’m relying on my instincts that I’ve got it right and it works as a novel. This is not a right approach or for that matter a wrong approach. It’s how I work. The process followed in my next novel maybe different. However, a great deal of work has gone into it to reach this stage, so it is a worry there is a plot hole waiting to swallow me up. Hopefully I can confirm that the plot is sound during the coming month.

I’m hoping this book will make it out into the world. That decision is out of my hands and I will have to wait and see. I have notes for several more books in the series and I am already thinking about what one to tackle next. Continuing to write is within my power and is my decision to make. So that’s what I’m doing. Writing got me to this point and it will continue to guide me through whatever is next. The key is to concentrate on what I can influence and keep producing further work for the future.

I struggle with selecting an image to go with these posts and invariably use the same ones. Today’s image has me at the top of a long set of stone stairs, and that is kind of fitting for the point I’ve reached today. It’s been a long climb, and I can sit for a moment and take a breather while I plan my next piece of writing. I admire anyone who makes it to the end of a book. It’s an achievement, regardless of how you may feel about it. Of course, you can always write better; there are always phrases and sentences you look back on and think, I should have written it differently. You have to choose a finish point and move on to the next project; you have to say, it’s good enough otherwise you will never be satisfied. Okay, you may still not be happy about leaving it, but there are others books to write and you need to clear space in your head to realise them. Of the writers I know, none are ever entirely happy that they got it right, but they have learnt how to let it go. It’s always a scary thought, but that’s the way of the fiction factory.

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