The one in five

This is slightly disingenuous, slightly, but on average one word in every five I write makes it to the printed page. It disingenuous because that figure is probably higher in the case of my novels, and maybe a tad lower in the case of things like this blog. But one in five sounds about right.

I am not alone in this.

Most writers, if not all, write in drafts.

Some write in consecutive drafts (these are know as the mad people)

By consecutive drafts I mean they write until they decide its not working , then go back to the beginning and start over, whether that be the beginning of the paragraph, the page , the chapter of the whole damn novel…

Others, (those known as the slight saner people), write in in full drafts, finishing one then starting over.

Some writers are a strange combination of the two, like two life forms forced together by some bizarrely mad science experiment by a man in a white lab coat with the kind of smile that suggests you should run a mile unless you want a third eye grafting to your sexual organs and a second set of ears that can act as wings… (these are known as the not quite as mad as the mad people but defiantly up there on the barking scale somewhere people).

None of this is relevant by the way, as will come as a shock to no one who has ever read my blogs before, except that no matter what kind of writer you are, no matter what kind of drafting you do, or how often you howl at the moon when its full, it will still be about one word in five that ever sees the light of day.

Some are lost because they are just bad.

Some are lost because they are the loose plot threads of the the forgotten themes.

And some are cut because they were never really part of the story that we were telling, rather they were part of the story we told ourselves so we could tell you, dear readers, the story that hit the printed page in the end. A bit of story told from a different characters view point, back story to the main over arching plot. That conversation that was happening in the corner booth between the pilot and the barmaid while the main character was drinking away his sorrows at the bar…

Sometimes these odd little asides find their way out in to the world in other ways. Take for example ‘A Scar of Avarice’ a novella that started out on the cutting room floor. Back when I was writing ‘A Spider in the Eye’ I had this odd chapter that did not really work about a harmless little black robed monk in a Tibetan monastery beating Hannibal up in the way little black robed, harmless looking, monks in Tibetan monastery do. It was a fun little diversion, had something to say about colonialism and colonial British attitudes to the Empires less than willing subjects, but was mostly a reference to the crappy kung-fu movies I loved as a child…

The problem with the chapter was it’s main purpose in the novel was to fill in some time between a couple of plot points. I needed a couple of weeks to pass and so injected this little side story in to the novel…

This was fine, except the chapter felt forced, not least because it was. Also the plot fairy’s changed the end of Spider, so the chapter got moved to Tassels…. Where it got moved to the back end of ‘From Russia with Tassels’, due to the bullet train incident, some character growth and subplots etc, and the planning arc changed entirely. In the end its original purpose as time skip filler ceased to be and I cut it from the plot…

The problem was I still liked the chapter… It just wasn’t needed in either of the first two Hannibal Novels (which are effectively one novel but don’t tell any one) This was how ‘A Scar of Avarice’ came about. The novella which actually takes place between the end of Tassels and the start of ‘A Squid on the Shoulder’. Technically between 800 and 200 feet above the Indian ocean, in the period of time spent traversing this distance… But also in Esqwiths Passing Place, a pan-dimensional bar and grill from my novel Passing Place…

Oddly this saved chapter that never saw the light of day in two different Hannibal Novels finally saw the light of day six months BEFORE the first full Hannibal Novel was released…

What has all this to do with the cost of a fresh north Atlantic sea bass you ask? Well not much beyond demonstrating the point that like most authors just because only one in five words ever make it to print doesn’t mean all the bits that get cut are forgotten. Or that they will never see the light of day. Though plenty never do. Writers are pack rats, we save everything… Readers never see beyond the tip of the iceberg…

Sometimes though they get a peek. And in case your wondering, yes this is the actual point I started with and it really has taken this much waffle to get to…

As well as being a writer , I am a reader. In fact I am a reader first, you sort of have to be. In fact I have only ever met one author who isn’t a reader first, and I loath his stuff. So I’ll stick with my analogy. Everyone has there favourite authors, I have a long list, many of whom I have mentioned in the past. One of these is CG Hatton, who is I may add not just a favourite author of mine, but also one of my favourite people, the latter being an even harder category to get into to…

CG’s novels are awesome, I highly recommend them, I have in fact highly recommended them many times, and doubtless will do again. Recently CG messaged me and asked if I was busy or would fancy a rum, and so I called round, on a warm evening and was handed a small paperback and a rum… The paperback was one of ten in a limited run. Which delighted my bibliophile soul…

The Paperback in question is this one…

This small volume contains a few short story’s set in CG’s Thieves Guild universe, as well as small exerts and other things form the cutting room floor. A few of the stories she wrote for herself to tell her self the bigger story. It intriguing, full of spoilers, but its is mostly just a great read, a great insight into CG’s universe and into the stories behind the curtain. I loved it. No surprise there but then I want to read deeper into CG’s universe and know everything… That’s readers for you.

Writers are the gate keepers, we keep a lot of words hidden from view. Wisely on many occasions. But on occasion the best of the bits we horde and hide need to see the light of day. this collection is just that.

You can not get the paperback, as I said there are only ten copies in existence, and in all likelihood its going to stay that way. However you can get a copy for nothing on ebook via Book Funnel. So you should go and do that. Its a few short reads, and if you have never read CG’s work its a nice introduction. If you have then its a light into the darkness we (the readers) don’t normally see because we (the writers) keep it to ourselves. But aside for that, its just a good read, and will leave you wanting to know more. I know I do …

BOOK FUNNEL FREE BOOK HERE

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