Monday, 1 August 2011
Y is for YOUWRITEON.COM
After the 2002 version of Africa Reich was rejected I wrote another two novels (one on Barbary pirates, the other a dark love story about forgery) neither of which found any success. Every time I looked around for a new project, however, I kept coming back to TAR. Should I rewrite it as a thriller? Surely the idea was full of potential? In the end, the impetus to start again came from a totally unexpected event.
My original idea was to turn it around quickly: take the existing manuscript, cut out the literary elements, beef up the thriller bits and have it read for submission in a couple of months. I soon hit a snag, however, what I came to describe as the apricot-and-peach-lattice-pie conundrum.
Imagine you serve a beautiful apricot and peach lattice pie to someone only to be told they don’t like apricots. You head back to the kitchen, thinking it will be no problem to remove the apricot pieces and then you can get on with dessert. The problem is that to get at the apricot you have to break through the lattice pastry – and by time you’re finished all you’ve got is a mess. So it was with the book. I couldn’t remove the literary elements without damaging the rest. I struggled for a month before realising it was hopeless. Then I took a brave decision. I decided to start again. From scratch...
PS – when I said A-Z, I hope you didn’t think I meant in order.