The Lost Manuscript
I published Volume I of The Ice Boat in April, 2o10. It was the first novel I ever wrote and I wrote it in long-hand. I didn’t realise just what a pain in the ass it was gonna be to type it up. In fact a friend typed up nearly half of it for me – free – which is the only reason I published Volume I when I did!
Writing it up in long-hand did have some advantages; I could write in the relaxed environment of a holiday apartment in Spain and I could get my thoughts down as fast as my pen-hand could write. The latter, in my opinion, has made the manuscript more like stream-of-consciousness than any of my other novels.
I published The Man Who Recreated Himself and then Infinite Blue Heaven – both typed out on my old Mac – before my friend had struggled through the first half of the novel. God knows how she translated my spider-scrawl into English. I published it, but shortly after this I married. I guess many marriages start with a big clear-out. Mine was no exception – one of the worst atrocities in my view was putting the old Garrard record deck into storage. But even worse was that the manuscript for The Ice Boat Volume II was lost. Fortunately I didn’t know this until my marriage broke down and my wife moved out; I thought it was safely stored in a cupboard. It was only a few years ago that I remembered it and thought, ‘I must type this bastard up somehow.’
I couldn’t find it! It was lost and I had already announced on Amazon that I would publish Volume II in due course. I felt bad. I felt I had let down my readers. There was nothing I could do.
Then, early this year, I employed a cleaner for a few months and she found it buried beneath some books. Praise the Lord! Eureka! I was saved!
What was better was that I sound discovered that I had actually typed up about twenty pages of Volume II years ago. Now I have commenced typing up the rest. I am doing five pages per day and I reckon it will take me about a month. I will publish it in 2014 – possibly in the first half of the year, if I can find the time.
I have an observation to make about the whole episode. Reading something you wrote ten years ago is quite painful. The writing itself is painfully amateur. This leaves me with a dilemna; do I attempt to update it and possibly ruin what is there (and spend a huge amount of valuable time on it) or do I leave it as it is, a kind of historical document. No doubt many will disagree but, for now, I have gone for the latter. If I attempt to change it, I will have to practically rewrite it and I simply don’t have the time. I think it’s better to just get it ‘out there’ for now. If people want to read it, great. If not, that’s fine too. Maybe, one day, I will have the money or time to go back to it and thoroughly update it. For now, it remains as it is.
So what have I learned from all this:
1. Never write in long hand!
2. If you do, don’t use a lined A4 pad bought in the supermarket; it’s too easy to lose!
The blog is quite short this week because I need to spend time interacting with other blogs that I follow. This is something I keep meaning to do but don’t find the time. Infinite Blue Heaven is currently free on Amazon and Eighteen, Blue: (Short Stories: Volume II) will be FREE from 18-22 December so make sure you grab a copy.
I am interested in doing a VBT in January to promote Attack Hitler’s Bunker! so if you have a blog about aircraft, especially vintage aircraft and want some more traffic, get in touch.
Work on my new novel December Radio is going well; I hope to finish it in 2014.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this week’s title is a reference to the fact that The Ice Boat is having a tricky birth at best. If you haven’t seen it, Frankenstein: the True Story is the best Frankenstein movie in my opinion.