Friday, July 03, 2009

It's all coming to a head now.

Madness. My novel is just about finished. Just a final polish and then off it goes to various publishers and agent, three weeks ahead of deadline. Which is just as well, because it will need to go through the editing process and I need the extra time up my sleeve. From August 23 I will be a little indisposed with a new family member.

Four months ago the deadline was looking impossible: I written had 40,000 and those words had taken me a year to write. The more I wrote, the longer the book wanted to be. I was feeling sick and tired all the time. But then something happened. It all started falling into place. Suddenly that life growing inside me wasn't being such a burden. I had spent so much time thinking about the book that suddenly my writing sped up and what was going onto the screen was no longer about finding the voice and the story of the novel: I already had those. So when the words eventually fell on the page they were mostly the right ones. I have been describing it as the novel reaching a critical mass in my head. It was bursting out of me.

Writing a novel is a little like having children. It gets easier as it goes along, so much so that when it is going really well, you forget how hard it was in the beginning, and you do it all over again. This book was agony to write at times - last year I had some dark days, weeks even, when I couldn't imagine ever finishing it or getting it right. But all that is behind me now.

Just a quick mention: last weekend I went to Wellington to visit family and friends, and was very privileged to witness the gloriousness of The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra at the Michael Fowler Centre, on the first of two sold-out shows in one night. The sound was superb, as was the set and it truly was, as they advertised it, a magical evening. Those harmonies! Those lead breaks! As their friend, I was pleased and proud. As a fan, I was just so happy to be there. This is a show that deserves to play at similar venues all around the world in my opinion.

I will leave you with a picture of the ukes at one of their first ever gigs: my wedding, in 2006. They played 'All You Need is Love' as we signed the register and the wedding ditty as we walked down a makeshift outdoor 'aisle' on an unusually glorious Wellington day in February. Don't I feel smug. 


14 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

Double public congratulations Rachael, glad to hear it gets easier ( the child bit). I am always astounding how much as writers we get in our own way more than most other obstacles. Congratulations again, can't wait to see both your babies

Mark Hubbard said...

Good news indeed, and - unless I'm getting your metaphors mixed - on two counts.

Jim Murdoch said...

Well I'm happy for you and a little jealous. As a man I don't get the whole childbirth thing. My metaphor for writing is far more scatalogical and I've a bad case of constipation: all the words are in there, I just can't get them out. But I've had problems before and got through it. There was a gap of two years in the middle of my third novel. You can do that kind of thing when you don't have a deadline and people screaming at you to produce something.

Anyway, I don't know about you, I love editing. I could polish those words for months on end and I usually do. So enjoy the extra time.

Rachel Fenton said...

Huge congratulations! Enjoy the next twelve months because it goes too quickly (as you already know) - My son will be one on August 28 and I still wonder when he will sleep through! But the joy children bring far outweighs the sleep deprivation (just remind me of that at three am!)

Mary McCallum said...

Oh Rachael - well done you. And yes, you clearly have the right instinct as far as little known bands go... I pondered playing a ukelele recently but put it on the back burner... maybe I'll go have a look at them again ... it all looks so much fun. Kia kaha with the labour eh?

Marianne @ Zen Peacekeeping said...

Yay! I'm so excited for you on both fronts. I can't wait to read the new book and meet the new family member.

PS: I take great hope from this post. Not on the baby-making front, obviously, but I hope that all the thinking I've been doing about my book will add up to a moment of critical mass as well one day!

Rachael King said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. Marianne - I have great faith that all the work you are putting in will result in a moment of perfect clarity. You have such a compelling story to tell.

Jim - thanks for stopping by. Do you know that yours was the first story I ever reviewed on Zoetrope way back in 2000? (If I have the right Jim Murdoch that is).

Mary - I am so blown away by the WIUO I wouldn't dream of picking up the uke myself. I'll leave it to the experts I think and stick to my guitar! The first time I saw my friend Gemma playing her uke was a few days after my father died. She had a song book and we played 'So Long Marianne' down the phone to our friend Marianne (see above), little knowing that it would lead on to such huge things for Gemma. Who could have known then that a little instrument like that would turn her into a bona fide rock star?

Rachael King said...

Oh and by the way Jim, I have used the constipation metaphor before for writing. It;s very apt I think. You sit at that computer and you just can't for the life of you squeeze any words out! LOL

I love polishing as well, but I usually do it as I go so it's not one huge job at the end.

Gerhard Bothma said...

Hi Rachael

This is my first fisit to your blog. I am busy reading your novel, The sound of butterflies, and I enjoy it so much that I thought I just have to google you and see what more I can find :) I am glad to hear that soon there will be a second! And congrats too on the baby.

I live in South Africa and my first language is not English but Afrikaans. Still I read a lot of English. I'm also trying to write my first novel in Afrikaans. It's hard work, but I feel it's something I just have to do. It's like I'm a presure cooker and the presure keeps on building up untill I let off some steam by writing a page or even just a paragraph. I have to do it otherwise I will explode! Anyway. Enjoy the weekend.

whitihereaka said...

I'm going to add my congratulations as well - on both fronts!

Damon said...

First, well done, Rachael - it's a marvellous thing, the sprint home. (Then the limping, the dehydration, the aches.)

Second, (and forgive my shallowness), but that's a great profile shot of you. And what's the luminescent blue hair...thing? It looks lovely.

Third, my very best wishes for that new family member. Mine is trying to whack the keyboard as I type one-handed. Almost seven months now...

Donna Hosie said...

Rachael, is there a tentative release date yet for Magpie Hall?

Rachael King said...

Gerhard - thanks for dropping by!

Whiti - thanks! Hope your book's going well...

Damon - it's a feather headpiece with a peacock feather on it. Nice, eh?

Donna - November in NZ, but will be some time before it's out elsewhere.

Rachel Fenton said...

Damon got there first, but your profile picture is adorable!