Sunday, 31 July 2016

Pins and Needles

How fascinating. Jane Austen edited an abandoned novel, The Watsons, using pins. Christopher Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections at the Bodleian Library, explains in this article.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Why I Don't Write About Africa

Sitting beneath the shade of an acacia tree, I reach for my laptop and open the lid, beginning my tale in Africa...


Or not.

I have been asked a few times to write about Africa (always 'Africa,' rather than 'Rwanda,' which is where I live), but the conversation usually goes more along the lines of: 'Oh, you should write about Africa.'

Writers get 'you should'-ed a lot.

In the minds of many, what we've done for a living, or where we've travelled, often becomes the topic we should write about. I suppose it's easier for people to relate to tangible places, rather than the 101 imaginary places we've been in our minds and would rather write about.

During the most recent should-ing in which I was told to write about Africa, I decided to compose a post explaining why I don't, putting that question to bed once and for all. 

I came up with three main reasons:

1. Escapism: Far out in front of my reasons for not writing about Africa, or Rwanda, is escapism. Fiction is my escape from reality. I suspect, though I've never taken the conversation far enough to be sure, that when people tell me I should write about Africa, they mean in a diaristic or journalistic sense. At a push, creative non-fiction. I don't think they're referring to the type of post-apocalyptic science fiction Nnedi Okorafor writes.

So, I've already told my first lie. I do write about Africa, but I write about it in my travel blog.

For me, fiction is all about escaping my day-to-day. I don't want to escape the world I'm living in, only to sit down and write the world I'm living in. Not when Persian palaces, ancient Irish magic and the Australian outback are on offer. 

Just because you live somewhere, doesn't automatically mean you want to write about it. Nobody ever told me I should write about Northamptonshire when I was living there.

2. Mortality (or Heart): This is a simple one to grasp. Touched upon in Emma Newman's recent conversation with James Oswald. Writing takes a lot of time. A first draft can take anywhere from five months to a year, then up to another year to hit the shelves.

Writers, being human beings, have a finite amount of time to write as many books as they can before they die. Under no circumstances what so ever is a writer going to give up one of the hundred potential plots which keep them awake at night in order to write what somebody else thinks they should write.

There just isn't time.

Writers are very seldom stuck for ideas, but it's choosing the idea you know you can take to 100,000 words that's tricky. Your heart really needs to be in it. If your heart is besotted with a novel about Africa - go and write it.

3. Authenticity: I did once write a bottom drawer novel about Africa. Bottom drawer novels are manuscripts that will never see the light of a publisher's lounge. I have two of them to date, the other being experimental urban fantasy. These are novels either written purely for our own pleasure, because we want to explore something, or as therapy. Usually a mixture of the two. My African novel was less about Africa and more about the state of international development. I had a lot of things I wanted to say about that at the time, and fictionalising it allowed me to do so at an objective distance.

There wasn't much separation between myself and the narrator, and much of the action was drawn from my own experiences, and the experiences of close friends, so no escapism.

The type of novel we write for ourselves is often very different to the type of novel we write for other people - you. They're generally much more self-indulgent, sometimes hard to follow or relate to, and lacking in popular appeal. That's why they end up in the bottom drawer.

Sometimes we pull them out, blow off the dust and have a flick through, but mostly we just needed to get those stories out of our system before continuing to write the really good stuff.

To write something really good about Africa, something people would like to read, like Poisonwood Bible, Tail of the Blue Bird, Who Fears Death, Half of a Yellow Sun or The Other Hand, it needs to be bloody convincing. It needs rounded characters, cultural diversity, historical accuracy and a certain honesty.

If you strike the wrong key, it can be career-crushing, as Louise Linton found out.

I don't feel that invested in fictionalising Africa at the moment. I feel invested in fictionalising other places. I can write about nineteenth century Iranian harems and twentieth century Australian sanatoriums fairly convincingly, but (due to Point #1) I would much rather do my living in Africa and my imagining elsewhere.

Some stories are not mine to tell. Other people could do it better.

Which is why, conversely, I'm extremely enthusiastic about helping to promote fiction writing in Rwanda. I'll post separately about this soon.

I'm really interested in that.

There is a private bar at the British Embassy here in Kigali, called The Goat & Gorilla. Last time I was there, a Rwandan professor asked me what I did. When I replied that I write, he told me that was wonderful, and that more people needed to write so that they could tell the story of the genocide.

When you talk about writing here, a lot of people go straight for non-fiction and memoirs. There really aren't that many examples of Rwandan fiction available. Nakumatt and Ikirezi Bookshop offer a wide range of fiction written by non-Rwandans. Mostly westerners, but also Nigerians and some Ugandans. It can seem as though fiction is something people from other places do. I think it's also partly to do with the education drive and that mortality issue I mentioned. There are only so many hours in the day, and if a textbook will get you a job, you're more likely to read that than a work of fiction. You probably only have enough money to buy one or the other. Books ain't cheap.

Whilst the professor was explaining to me that creative writing is necessary to tell the story of the genocide, my mind turned a little dark. He was under the impressions that there was a big market out there for genocide survival stories. I didn't feel it kind to correct him, but that market was largely sewn up by white men: Season of Blood by Fergal Keane, Shake Hands with the Devil by Roméo Dallaire, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch. That's not to say there isn't room on the market for a Rwandan author to release a memoir in English, but probably only one, and probably in the style of Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone. The Western-dominated book market has a limited attention span for international literature. 

[UPDATE: See comment below re: publishing stats for genocide memoirs.]

Instead of saying any of that, I steered the conversation onto fiction. There's an entire generation in Rwanda now, anyone under the age of twenty-two, who didn't live the genocide. A young, fresh-faced generation who, like any young, fresh-faced generation, are fascinated by fashion, music, art, technology and the future.

In fiction, we dream our future.

Recording the past is important, but so is imagining what is to come. Even Einstein attributed his genius to abstract thinking and to fantasy. I'm very curious to see where people take science fiction and fantasy for the first time, in a country without it. And where romance and literary fiction journey in contemporary, fast-growing Kigali?

Not my story to tell, but definitely mine to read.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Creepy 80

I am utterly overjoyed to be making this post.

After rebooting and returning to writing on Monday, I am ridiculously happy to announce that I fulfilled my 10,000 words this week. Actually, I've surpassed it, as I had to re-cross the 70k threshold after knocking some out in the edit. 

I can also triumphantly announce that I am now typing two-handed. There is some fairly upsetting scarrage on my left hand, especially around the finger joints, but the pads of my fingers can now withstand contact with the keyboard. Annoyingly, the burnt section of my wrist runs up the side that would usually rest against the keyboard, but who cares - I can type again.

Off to see the dermatologist next Monday to find out what can be done about the rest. My only real worry at the moment is my ring finger. It's not sensitising as well as the others, and it's developing a callous which makes it impossible to play the tin whistle anymore. There's a funny little bump that lets all the air escape, and I can't tell how hard I'm pressing. 

I'm not panicking just yet. There may be things that can be done. In the meantime, I've rehomed a couple of my whistles with a good friend, in the hopes they'll get some use.

None of which detracts from today's achievement.

I am so proud. Just cracked open a beer in celebration.

I've done so many other things this week too, but I'll go into that later.

Also, the decision to cut five months from the timeline and skip to the end was a good one. Personally, I think I got away with it. I've split the story into Part I: Foundation and Part II: Destruction.  Things are really picking up and it looks set for a chaotic tumble into the underworld.

Just to remind everyone, this is certainly my first, possibly the first ever, full-length novel set in Hookland, which is the creative commons brain child of best-selling conspiracy author David Southwell. I met him via my publisher, Ghostwoods, and he's got a regular column running there.

There's a little map below. I've based my novel around Barrowcross in the South West.

It's a lot of fun, and I enjoy writing in David's world. It provides the right balance of structure and creative freedom for me. Perhaps that's why I enjoy writing historical fiction and fiction based on established characters. I like a few rules which I can write around and within. There's still a lot of research involved in this. I've read through the Hookland Bible, which is a guide for artists playing in Hookland, and I've also had a few self-imposed themes to look into. Over the past 10,000 words that's included the Polish secret service, the process of sentencing someone who is mentally unfit to plead, and how to physically move a building using hydraulic flatbeds.

I may not have fully lifted the mental barbell of plot recovery, but I'm certainly doing sit-ups.

I plan to spend the weekend working on a couple of shorter fiction submissions for paying publications. I love novel writing, but it's a long slog on the same topic. It's nice to take a break now and then and play with ideas in short form. I'm enjoying being able to type so much that I'd like to carry on.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Crome Yellow

Well, I did say that I would eventually get around to reading this.

Like Grigg in The Jane Austen Book Club, who read the lovely Ann Radcliffe because she was mentioned by Jane Austen, I picked up a copy of Aldous Huxley's first novel because it was mentioned in Out of Africa.

I became quite interested in Karen Blixen after a trip to Kenya a couple of years back. As well as mentioning this in the novel, she said in an interview:

I read the English poets and English novelists. I prefer the older writers, but I remember when I first read Huxley’s Crome Yellow, it was like biting into an unknown and refreshing fruit.

Which is quite entertaining to think that, in Blixen's world, this was contemporary literature, published in 1921 (Out of Africa was published in 1937).

As well as Out of Africa, I also read Babette's Feast.

I wished to read Huxley because I wanted to know Blixen better. I think we often know people best through the literature they enjoy. We are fortunate when someone tells us about the authors who have influenced them, because the door to their personality does not close with the last chapter of their own book. We are all interconnected through the books we read.

This was the first time I'd read Huxley. I'd never studied his most famous novel, A Brave New World, in school. However, his name was familiar. He was hugely interested in psychedelics, and for a time, so was I. His name still circulates in those circles.

Anyway, on to Crome...

This is the type of novel you will hate if you are averse to the Jeeves and Wooster era. According to Wiki:

Crome Yellow is in the tradition of the English country house novel, as practised by Thomas Love Peacock, in which a diverse group of characters descend upon an estate to leech off the host. They spend most of their time eating, drinking, and holding forth on their personal intellectual conceits. There is little plot development.

They're right, that's exactly what it is, and I absolutely loved it.

The first reason I loved it was for the language. You just don't realise how little of the English vocabulary we use today until you open a book by Huxley or Radcliffe. It's simply glorious. It even gave me the word lychgate, which is exactly the word I needed to describe the entrance to a church in my own novel. I wasn't aware it had a name until that point. A selection of some of the other words I picked up were:

Accidie - Spiritual or mental sloth
Apophthegm - A concise saying or maxim; an aphorism
Aphorism - A pithy observation which contains a general truth
Axiomatic - Self-evident or unquestionable

Carminative - Relieving flatulence
Chattel - A personal possession
Chiaroscuro - An effect of contrasting light and shadow
Cockade - A rosette or knot of ribbons worn in a hat as a badge of office, or as part of a livery
Coenobite - A member of a monastic community

Divegate - Stray or digress

Elide - Omit a sound or syllable when speaking

Fabulist - A person who composes or relates fables. Also, a liar, especially one who invents elaborate dishonest stories
Ferrule - A ring or cap, typically a metal one, which strengthens the end of a handle, stick or tube and prevents it from splitting or wearing

Gibbous - (of the moon) Having the illuminated part greater than a semicircle and less than a circle
Gnomic - Expressed in or of the nature of short, pithy maxims or aphorisms

Libidinous - Showing excessive sexual drive; lustful
Louche - Disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way

Peripatetic - Travelling from place to place, in particular working or based in various places for relatively short periods
Postprandial - During or relating to the period after dinner or lunch
Presage: A sign or warning of an imminent event, typically an unwelcome one
Pudic - (from pudendum) A person's external genitals, especially a woman's
Pullulate - Breed or spread rapidly

Quatrain - A stanza of four lines, especially one having alternating rhymes
Quotidian - Of or occurring every day; daily

Ratiocination/Ratiocinate: Form judgements by  process of logic; reason

Saurian - Of or like a lizard
Sententious - Given to moralising in a pompous or affected manner 
Sepulchrally/Sepulchral - Relating to a tomb or interment
Sibilant - Make or characterised by a hissing sound
Stentorian - Loud and powerful

Varlet - A man or boy acting as an attendant or servant
Venery - Sexual indulgence
Vitiate - Spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of

Let's keep these words alive! If you are a writer, I dare you to use one in your next story.

The second reason I loved this story was because it was more a compilation of several short stories, rather than one continuum.

For the rest of my days I will not forget the story of Sir Hercules and the dwarfs of Crome. Truly, it was beautifully conceived and memorably told.

Finally, it is easy to see why Huxley reached such levels of acclaim. Apparently Crome Yellow was his first novel, so I assume he only got better, but this was pretty darn good. I actively enjoyed climbing into bed of an evening and setting off for Crome. The characters were recognisable, the women just as well defined as the men, the setting vivid, and some of the observations quite perfect. I highlighted huge swathes of this book, it's hard to pick just a few examples, but I shall try.

"That's the test for the literary mind," said Denis; "the feeling of magic, the sense that words have power. The technical, verbal part of literature is simply a development of magic. Words are man's first most grandiose invention. With language he created a whole new universe; what wonder if he loved words and attributed power to them! With fitted, harmonious words the magicians summoned rabbits out of empty hats and spirits from the elements. Their descendants, the literary men, still go on with the process, morticing their verbal formulas together, and, before the power of the finished spell, trembling with delight and awe. Rabbits out of empty hats? No, their spells are more subtly powerful, for they evoke emotions out of empty minds."


"Wherever the choice has had to be made between the man of reason and the madman, the world has unhesitatingly followed the madman. For the madman appeals to what is fundamental, to passion and the instincts; the philosopher to what is superficial and supererogatory - reason."


"If you want to get men to act reasonably, you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner. The very sane precepts of the founders of religions are only made infectious by means of enthusiasm which to a sane man must appear deplorable. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is."


Adventures and romance only take on their adventurous and romantic qualities at second-hand [through literature]. Live them, and they are just a slice of life like the rest.

I was thoroughly charmed by Huxley's obituary tone, dissolving wreaths and spirals, brownish smell and eloquently cumbrous locutions.

Pleasurable reading. I can certainly see why Karen Blixen was so enamoured. I can picture an open copy resting on the table whilst she took a cigarette on the porch of an evening.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Gutenberg Press

A fascinating insight into Johannes Gutenberg's great invention, and how printing came to be.

Monday, 25 July 2016

And, Skip to the End...

Sitting here in shock.

Over the weekend, I cleared out all of my e-mails and worked my way through lots of bitty jobs that were niggling away at me. I decided that Monday would be back-to-work day. I'm starting to recover the use of my injured hand. I've used it to help with doing the dishes, I can pick up a cup, and I can just about type again.

I was dead worried about returning to Creeper's. It's been over two months since the accident and I had well and truly lost the plot. I had to read back through the entire thing last week to remind myself what I was writing.

During the read-through, I couldn't help doing a little editing. First I lost 300 words, then I added 600 words, then I lost 800, taking the original MS from 70,000 to around 69,500.

I woke early today, made coffee, and approached my desk with trepidation. It is terrifying returning to a story after such a long absence. Especially one so well developed. This should have been finished weeks ago, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to begin.

One of my greatest concerns was that, at 70,000 words, I couldn't fathom the ending. The plot was moving forward atmospherically, but slowly, and I needed to speed things up, but I wasn't sure how.

Then it came to me.

In the immortal words of Simon Pegg, all I needed to do was skip to the end.

Literally, just cut out five months and split the story into Part I and Part II.

It's a risky strategy. I would have preferred to use a montage if this had been film, but it's done now, and I think it might just have worked.

In fact, I'd like to outline my creative process using a series of Spaced gifs:

Anyway, I'm in shock because - mostly one-handed - I've just completed 2,500 words. It wasn't as difficult as I was expecting. The first 500 words, annoyingly, made up for the count reduction from the edit. So, I crossed the 70,000 word threshold for a second time. But I'm hoping I can keep this up and resume my 10k a week quota. I reckon another 40,000 and this novel's dusted.

I'm back, baby!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Free Celtx


I was fairly gutted when the Celtx community forum closed. 

Celtx used to be the best free scriptwriting software available, but more than that, it spawned a really active and engaged community of writers around the world.

It's gone a bit more up-market now, and you have to pay a subscription to use it, but I was totally over the moon to discover that there is still an old version of the software free online. It doesn't give you access to the cloud or to many of the flash new features, but it gets the job done.

You'll find the download for PC and Mac at the very bottom of it.

For me, it's not about begrudging Celtx the money - they're really great at what they do, and it's a product that's a) worth the money and b) a heck of a lot cheaper than other brands such as Final Draft.

My problem is that I'm teaching scriptwriting in an economically developing country that doesn't have access to an online payment system such as PayPal. Even if my students could afford it, they have no way of paying for it. It's a common problem in many parts of the world. Forcing them to try to format a screenplay using the teeth-grinding option of MS Word, just because of their geography, seems a little cruel.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Spare Rib

An interesting piece of social history. The entirety of the feminist magazine Spare Rib is now available online. It ran from 1972 to 1992. There's an interesting introductory article to it here, and a direct link to the archive.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Guest Post: Margaret Pinard

Margaret Pinard spent her first few decades travelling the globe in search of adventures to incorporate into her writing, including living in the lands of the Celts, the cities of European fashion, and several dolce far niente Mediterranean cultures. Her novels include Memory's Hostage, a historical mystery; Dulci's Legacy, a YA mystery/fantasy hybrid; and The Keening, book one of the historical drama series Remnants. She is currently at work on several short pieces and the sequel to The Keening in Portland, Oregon. Check out her website, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and find her books for sale via her Amazon shop.

MGW: I'm truly happy to introduce Margaret Pinard as my guest poster today. Margaret has been an avid supporter of this blog for a long time, and it's a pleasure to feature her on it.

Margaret has written about her foray into full-time writing, and how we define ourselves as writers. I really empathise with this topic as I'm currently trying the full-time writing experiment myself and flailing about for a definition of quite what that is. I smiled a lot whilst reading, especially the part about routine. In that respect we are kindred spirits.

Writer Identity
Margaret Pinard

Committing yourself to writing is placing yourself in a highly exposed position 
- ­Elizabeth George

I was going to write about lessons from a stint of full­-time writing, and how it compares to part-­time writing. But, first of all, it didn’t seem to have much heart, and I want to be doing things whole­heartedly these days.

Second, it seemed like the factor affecting me wasn’t actually whether or not I had an outside, wage ­earning job, but rather how I saw myself. So here are reflections on a writer and her identity.

When I was working at a popular bakery cafe, it seemed like there were two sides to my day: the light side (customer service) and the dark side (writing). I don’t write dark fantasy like Marion or urban paranormal thrillers; what I mean is that it was private, quiet, reflective. Focus Time. Whereas my time at the bakery counter was often spent in cacophony, dealing in split­-second decisions and careful timing of movements in a cramped space. Multi­-tasking time.

I identified as a Writer then because I knew that the retail clerk position was not my dream, but my bread ­and ­butter, if you will. And I was keeping up with a sort of rhythm and progress on my writing and publishing goals. I wasn’t making a living writing, by any means, but it felt like enough challenging work for me to sink my teeth into, and something I enjoyed enough to continue learning about.

Now that I have had my experimental five-­month stint as a ‘full­time writer,’ I am looking again at a part­-time job that will pay my bills. The reason I had the experimental stint involved a change in personal circumstances at the bakery, and a desire for change. It wasn’t that I was ready to go whole­-hog on writing, but I thought I would dip my toe in and see what that life was like. I would spend some of my savings, get a glimpse of the issues to prepare for, and perhaps be more ready when the time came that I did want to go whole­-hog.

But how did this change my perception of myself as a writer?

There is a school of thought that says that a writer should write every day. Perhaps it is also an assumption that non­-writers make, since I am often innocently asked if I am writing ‘every day.’ (Gack!) I’ve read numerous blog posts entreating writers to try it as a productivity trick, a way to foster a writing habit guaranteed to get the wheels turning.

But that is not the type of writer, or person, I am. Instead, I have a vintage postcard above my work space that says: An artist is someone who finishes things. And that, to me, is my saving grace or redeeming glory. I have finished ​three books so far, and am working on my fourth novel. I could be tearing my hair out about it, or hating it, or obsessing over one character’s way of saying, “yes,” but I am working on it.

Do I feel less-­than because, when I have gobs of time, I am not constantly working on that novel? Often. I feel like a weakling. But do I still feel like a Writer?

I feel like I now have a better understanding of the pathologies and destructive habits of certain celebrity writers, but I also have to evolve an acceptance of the type of writer that I am. Why does it work so well in November, when I’m NaNo-­ing, to write every day? How do the words pour out, the characters jump at the chance to act, and the dramatic moments swell in my fevered imagination? Why can I not plug that electricity into another month of the year, or two, or five?

It could be because the balance of introversion and extroversion is off: no dark without enough light.

It could be Resistance, shaped as Avoidance, corroding Self­ Worth.

But the stop-­and­-start nature of my writing practice while unemployed has shown me that continued repetition is something I either rebel against or crumble under the weight of. Rules, which I often cling to, avail me nothing in my writing practice, and may even place a sort of stigma on the desired act. For there is that age-old question about making your passion your career­­ - will it survive?

It’s taken me these five months to conclude that I prefer to have some other activity take the brunt of responsibility, the heat of inspection, while I keep my writing talents in the dark, quiet corner. I still feel that I am a Writer, but perhaps my version of Writer is nursed in seclusion, like a very shy dragon. Try to get her to perform for the multitudes, or at a public fair, and she panics, beating her great spiny wings and rasping fiery breaths to destroy fields of crops, if only out of fear.

Don’t turn me into a work­horse, she begs. Leave me to my cave.

It is that ‘exposed position’ that Elizabeth George describes at which she takes umbrage. I am therefore on the hunt for a job again, so she can retreat to her cave, I can pay the bills, and then get back writing.


The Keening is the first book in Margaret's series Remnants. A sweeping family drama set in Scotland's Western Isles, the MacLeans struggle to stay together as their home and livelihood are attacked and the landscape they have loved for generations is changed forever.

Described by reviewers as: "Dramatic, engrossing, and a must-read." 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


This is such a beautiful concept. Storybird allows you to create beautiful picture books online. Here's how it works.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Creeper's Rebooted

It's now been almost two months since I was last able to type two-handed.

Just before the accident, I was writing 10k a week and had just taken my latest venture, Creeper's Cottage, to 70,000 words, the threshold for a novel. I thought it would be well and truly dusted by now.

But, we can never predict what's just around the corner. There's not a lot I can do about my situation right now. I tried speech-to-text software, but it really didn't work. I've become quite adept at typing one-handed. However, e-mails are one thing, novels quite another.

In a bid to kick-start myself, I've bought a writing desk and chair, and I've set myself up a little corner of the room looking out onto the garden. I decided that if I can't write, at least I can edit. That only requires me to scowl at the screen, muttering to myself.

Can't say I was too thrilled by the prospect. Since Rosy Hours, I've become a very different writer. Once upon a time I'd begin every writing session by reading the last two chapters and tinkering with them as I went. I was an edit-as-you-goer. With Rosy and the two-and-a-half novels which followed, I've dispensed with that. I refuse to read back or edit anything until the end. With Creeper's, I've even done away with chapter headings. I'll divide it up once I'm done.

This works well if you're in the zone, flying high on 10,000 words a week.

It doesn't work if you've had to take a break from your characters for two months.

I once saw a cartoon of a man busting a gut to lift a heavy barbell, meant to represent the strain of picking up a plot after you've put it down.

That image keeps repeating as I sit here trying to fathom where I was going before I left the path.

Something rather unexpected also occurred to scupper my plans.

Sodding Brexit has proven to be a world of brainache. Not only have I had to pay £30 more in rent this month, due to the abysmal performance of the pound, but it looks like I may have to reconsider parts of my novel.


He was about to tell her about the caravan they’d hired. It was a twin axle Bailey, fairly spacious, and he’d managed to hook up an electric generator, a water tank and a pump. Before he had a chance to tell her any of this, she turned to him.

“We’re not illegal immigrants or anything,” she said.

“No, I know. Poland is part of the EU.”

“I have a right to work here.”


Her shoulders relaxed a little and she glanced back out of the passenger side window.


Considering how long a novel takes to get written, and then published, there may not even be a UK by that point.

Trying to remain contemporary and culturally relevant is almost as  exhausting as typing a novel one-handed.

Anyway, I'm almost 80 pages into the 250 page edit, and feeling much happier in myself to be back at the keyboard. I've only trimmed 300 words from that 70k so far. Most of my novels are like that, I tend to lose very little in the edit, which is nice.

Not sure what will happen when I reach the end of the MS and remember what was supposed to come next. I think it's likely that I will just have to reduce my word count expectations to 500-1,000 a day. I hope to be typing normally again within the next month, but slow and steady also wins the race - or so I've been told.