When (around the middle of August) the manuscript of the comic ‘Ruritanian’ novel hit the 75,000 word mark, roughly 10,000 from the end, I decided to stop and carry out second-draft revisions of the 90%-completed work. It was an unconventional decision, but this is me, right? I needed to make sure that each of the several plot strands was internally consistent – and consistent with all the other strands – before I embarked on the final phase of composition. So that’s more or less what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. During the process the 75,000 words became fewer than 70,000, despite some material additions to the text, a reassuring development because you expect significant tightening of a manuscript at the second-draft stage. I’m now sure everything is in place so I’m forging ahead with the last part of the novel. Once it’s finished I’ll store it in a dark cupboard for a while, then give it another critical redrafting, and then send it forth – clad in nice new boots, food parcel on a pole over its shoulder – to seek its fortune with a literary consultancy.

Meanwhile I’ve started discussions with the wonderful Dana about the possibility of publishing a collection of my ghastly pun-ridden stories and poems. She’s been encouraging, which suggests a hitherto unsuspected degree of malice towards readers.

As planned, I performed at the Buxton storytelling meeting on the 25th of August (2.00-3.30 p.m. in Scrivener’s Bookshop), and I went to the Matlock Storytelling Café on September 6th, though only as part of the audience. I expect to be performing at the same venue again at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday 15th September, and at 7.30 p.m. on Friday 27th September at the Partington Theatre in Glossop. Looking ahead to October, I hope to attend a storytelling workshop in Matlock on the 5th, with a view to improving my skills.

Onwards and upwards!

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