I'm currently working my way through draft five of Duplex Tempus, or as I suppose refer to this draft: the Captain Kirk draft.
This is actually a joke a friend of mine made many moons ago, long before Filthy Henry ever appeared. I had just written some opening chapters for a book and wanted to get the opinion of somebody who read similar tales to myself. The notes back were that the story had been funny, engaging, and definitely something that they wanted to read more of. But, sticking to my request for actual criticism to be given, this friend pointed out that there were several 'Captain Kirk moments' in the chapters.
But what is a 'Captain Kirk moment' I don't hear you ask because this is a rant and not a phonecall. Basically it stems from the good old days of the Star Trek television series, the original ones. Back then continuity was sometimes seen as an extra cost for production as opposed to something required. It meant that, fairly regularly, Captain Kirk would beam down from the Enterprise to a planet, completely unarmed, and then in the very next scene be brandishing a phaser rifle at the aliens.
I'm pretty sure that it got to the point that nearly every episode had one of these 'Captain Kirk moments' in them, all because the writer's needed them to happen in order for the story to continue.
Draft Five has always been my Captain Kirk Draft, the one that I go through and pay attention to some of the smaller details. Did the main character pick up her drink with her right hand when I made a huge deal about her being left handed? How did the bullet end up in the wall if the gun was fired at the ceiling? Did the hero of the tale just reveal some information that they couldn't possible know at that point in the story?
It's actually a pain in the ass draft to work on, because you really have to read everything. Keep an entire world in your hand, influx, so that you can catch these little things. Thankfully I never do just one Captain Kirk Draft, draft five is always just the first time doing it. Once it has been done I may have some new ideas that I want to work in. Maybe I take out some plot bits that don't work. Generally the second to last draft is another Captain Kirk Draft as it helps to ensure I haven't left any dangling plot threads or devices from the edits of the previous drafts.
I tell you this writing lark has more work in it than my full time job most days.
But if I didn't get the stories out of my head then I'd go crazy with them in their all the time.
Isn't it just bloody typical, the second you get a chance to sleep in your body doesn't want to.
For as long as I can remember I've never been one for sleeping in too late. All my siblings seem to be able to, but I never get past nine if I am lucky. Not matter how late I go to bed. I always put it down to my migraines, at least in my teenage years. Having spent so many hours sleeping to try and get rid of the pain I guess I figured a sleep in was wasting time.
Then along come the kids, two bundles of joy wrapped in clouds of chaos. Suddenly surviving on a few hours of sleep isn't a trick I can pull off any more. I need to get somewhere near seven at least. As the weeks go on and the combination of early starts and illness start to take their toil I think to myself 'Man, I'd love a lie-in.'.
Of course the world always has different ideas. Right when you think you can stay in bed something happens. One of the little ones is sick or they are just up and full of energy and demand parental supervision.
Such is the way of things.
Except last night my mum offered to take both the kids overnight. Let me tell you the ladyfriend and I didn't have to be asked twice. Nugget and Jellybean were bundled away to Nanny and Granda's quicker than they could shit a nappy.
We had big plans. Such plans. Plans of having a meal out, just the two of us, a few drinks, then home to watch a movie without the constant need to pause it and run up to see which of them was crying. Then a long sleep-in, the sort you only read about or see in movies.
It was the parenting version of EPIC!
Except bang on six thirty, of a Saturday morning, I woke up. Not just woke up, but fully woke up. I'm one of those mad whores that once they fully wake there is no going back to sleep. Lying in the bed will just result in the brain kicking into gear and plotting out things that need to be done. I often envy those who can wake up, go to the loo, check their phone, then climb back into bed and go back to sleep.
No kids in the house, no immediate responsibilities to take care of, and all the time in the world to catch up on sleep.
And I woke up and half bloody six.
I bet you dollars to doughnuts that when we bring back our happy balls of energy tonight and they start screaming at six thirty tomorrow morning I won't have the same refreshed feeling I did this morning.
Isn't it just typical.
I've been working away on the latest draft of Duplex Tempus and it's been something of a slog. I made the rookie mistake of putting dates into sections of the book, so for this draft I had to go through and make sure that the dates all line up with the plot.
It has been a huge pain in the ass.
On the plus side the draft I've just finished, number three for those that care, has been trimmed of a few subplots that I felt didn't work.
I mentioned that I was doing this in a writers group I am a member of and the response was somewhat surprising. Everyone seemed to think that I had committed a crime of some sort, cutting subplots that I felt were not working. I am still not entirely sure how they came to that conclusion. I don't think there is a writer on the planet who kept every single thing from their first draft all the way through to the final one. Just like there isn't a writer alive who hasn't added a little bit to their story after the first draft. New ideas that popped up during the writing phase they may not have considered during the planning part.
Anyway those subplots are now in the bin, never to be used again. I will take a day and jump right back into the editing of draft four. I told a friend of mine today that I'd aim to have the book finished and ready for Dublin Comic Con in August.
I recall making a similar statement about the last Filthy Henry novel and that did not turn out so well.
But a writer can dream...