And how they make a difference to art and life.
(I hereby win most portentous subtitle of 2016)
Today I finished the manuscript and immediately started over.
As we’re amongst friends, I can call the manuscript by its real name.
The big things are in place. Now to add all those itty-bitty small things. The mention, the letter, the look, the number, the detail, the time, the tiny pieces of the whole which keep the reader puzzled.
Crime and thriller writers have many ways of keeping track of all the consistent clues and references within a novel.
This is my sixth in a series and I’ve tried pretty much every system there is. Yet I still go back to my pencil grid. Before you make assumptions, it has highlights, Post-Its, maps, characters, research detail and an entire coded asterisk system. Colour and class. And I need that grid. For a mind better suited to character, dialogue and even scenic description, lining up endless details is like herding a thousand kittens.
Small things are important. Pebbles, jewels or jigsaw pieces, the reader collects and pockets every one. Each texture, colour and shape must be pleasing in itself and fit perfectly into the whole.
Small things make a big difference in stories.
Small things make a difference in lives.
It’s been a tough year – in both the personal and political arena.
Small gestures such as cards, letters, messages, posts, hugs, calls, visits and opinions have eased the sense of loss. A package of mince pies made me cry.
If you read this blog, I’m assuming you’re not a git and therefore it’s been a tough year for you too. Here’s a hug and a virtual mince pie.
I’m going back to the book and adding all the elements it needs to make it work. It will take a lot of effort, daily diligence and self-criticism. My own harshest critic will be me. Because lazy creates nothing.
I’m going to engage with this strange new world and do small things. It will take a lot of effort, every day, which may involve swearing, giving, supporting, calling-out, protesting, refusing or applauding. Because lazy achieves nothing.