Three months without a blog. What's been going on? A rewrite, that's what, of new book, the sequel to the Crimson Rooms. It consumed me, body and soul, using up all my writer's energy.
For me rewriting is a much more absorbing process than the initial writing, which is why I'm always surprised when people say they hate revising a piece of writing. To me, the first draft (or second and third in the case of this latest book) are the rough marble and the final rewrite is dragging the finished sculpture from within its marble casing (I got this analogy from Irving Stone's The Agony and The Ecstasy - his life of Michelangelo which I've never forgotten. He writes about Michelangelo seeing the finished sculpture within the block of marble when he visits a quarry).
So why does a book need rewriting. When I send it off to my agent it always seems to me as good as it can be. When he rings me up to talk about it, it's always about the possibilities that I've missed, the fact that much of the essential emotional tug between characters has somehow not got onto the page. The book, once it's written, has become something different to its original conception. It has an independent life and there's no point in being precious about it. Although I moan about the fact I can't get it right first time, I rejoice in a hugely creative process. This is what I've written, now what can we do with it?