Many years (and a good many pounds) ago, I used to play rugby-football. In those days, I was quite a sprinter too, even though I say it myself. However, I must confess that there was a time when my supposed speed went completely to my head. In fact, in the warm-up before one particular match, I actually kept running repeatedly into the ground because I absolutely believed that I was faster than I actually was. How’s that for arrogance?
I had a novel published last month by Thames River Press. It is called The Eighth Circle of Hell and, even though I say it myself, it is quite literary. Under the guidance of the editors at Thames River Press, I have written something worth reading on a number of levels.
But... (Yes, you’ve guessed it)...
I have a second manuscript under submission with the working title: Seven Gifts of Madness. I had actually written an early draft of it before The Eighth Circle of Hell, and agents and editors who had looked at it then had, in the main, quite liked it although there were certainly issues to be addressed in the dialogue and plot.
When I came to revise Seven Gifts of Madness after having finished The Eighth Circle of Hell, I brought all my supposed newly-discovered talents to bear. I embellished it and complicated it, and embellished it again and yes I admit now, it became an absolute stinker, which in the words of the publisher’s reader, ‘disappeared up its own fundament.’
And I have to agree. I’m now left with several layers of pomposity and arrogance to peel away from both my manuscript and also I fear my good self. Then, suitably chastened, I hope I will have a manuscript worth publishing again. In retrospect I could have saved both myself and Thames River Press a lot of time.
As I recall my old rugby coach saying many years ago: ‘What a plonker!’ You’re only as good as your current manuscript.