I have written 72,000 words, but the novel isn't finished exactly. I now get to pore over the manuscript, killing my darlings, taking out any beloved words that have led to dreadful repetition and other dull things like that...but I also get to do the fun part. I get to make sure the narrative flows and hangs together; I can ensure (hopefully!) that themes are subtle and properly blended into the story - and sometimes I even discover new ones. I think a book is about one thing, and then another theme bobs to the surface at the editing phase. I know my book is about the journey through loss; it's about identity and finding our 'tribe' in our friends and partners. It also explores the casual racism thrown at the Romany community. As I have started to read the manuscript through, I have found hints of undiscovered themes, such as a strong thread of colour that describes the way values and more are passed down through the generations.
|My nanny, mum and uncle.|
It's easy to trace where this story comes from. It's a real 'heart story.' My mum died several years ago, and I have drawn on my experiences as a bereaved daughter as well as the emotions I see in my work as a grief counselor. Mum came from a Romany family. It was there in the piercing blue eyes and raven hair (which I sadly didn't inherit, but hey - you can't have it all!). My lovely father-in-law from my first marriage is from a gypsy family too. So it hurts on a personal as well as ideological level when I hear the prejudice still shown to gypsies today.
I am looking forward to the polishing, general mulling over and strengthening process of editing. Does that make me an odd-bod, or do other writers enjoy this stage too? See you on the other side...