Do you have any dead books in a drawer? Ones you love but couldn't finish? Ones you finished but no one else loved?
Last month I put a would-be book to bed, on the equivalent of a long term life support system. It's not dead exactly, although I think it would need some huge electric jolt to make it work, and after eighteen months of hard work, involving plenty of thinking and not thinking, I'm calling it a day.
That brings my 'almost' collection of novels that never made it to three and a half. Let me talk you through some of them.
The first story I never finished was my difficult second book. I had written the first couple of chapters, 15k of lovely (I thought) words, it was set in a seaside town I think, but I can't for the
life of me remember the characters names. I had left the small film company I worked for they presented me with a computer, my first Apple. I typed in 15k words, pressed a button and put the whole thing into alphabetical order. It looked like this;
A A A A an an an an an and and and and and at at ( you get the idea).
I couldn't work out how to put it back. It remains, of course, my great lost masterpiece.
The second story featured my first ever male protagonist, I thought it was fab; Josh is gorgeous, just finished his GCSEs, when his Mum dies of MS. His estranged Dad turns to help him sort out the funeral and finds Josh in bed with his Mums' beautiful Slovakian carer (she is 22). Dad is a self centred film director with a new wife, who uproots Josh to London and then everything changes.
It was obviously not as fab as I thought....
The one I've just settled down in intensive care was historical and based on a true story. I think that was my mistake. The true story was so mad, whatever I made up around it couldn't compete. I finished it twice, thousands and thousands of poor, wasted, early nineteenth century, words. That's a lot of empire line frocks, believe.
I suppose I should be more mad or sad. How many people would do all that work for nothing? But the reason I'm not, is I have started on something new. I've got that new story, everything is right in the world, and even though you just made a creme caramel that didn't set, who cares feeling...
This one is the one. Oh yes.
Until it isn't. Or until the next one, whichever is sooner....