Monday saw the first draft of my novel-in-progress off to my PhD supervisor. Well, I say 'first draft' but it's a draft that has had many, many incarnations over the last couple of years. And it wasn't exactly the whole novel, just about two-thirds of it (58 682 words or 161 pages to be precise, but who's counting!) Still, for probably the first, and hopefully not the last, time in my writing life, I can honestly say I could not have worked any harder and I am pleased with what I've done. Though I do have a sneaking suspicion it is nowhere near 'literary' enough for a PhD... watch this space!
Two interesting off-shoots though. First, Simon's language is clearly developing in too specific a direction. As well as: 'party biscuit', 'big boy pants' and 'a minute, mummy; I'm busy', he can now say clearly and in context: 'copyright', 'edit' and 'genre'. How can this have happened? The literary mantle has fallen far too close to him. Never fear, I am now working hard to teach him: 'U-bend', 'inlet valve' and 'there'll be an eighty quid call out charge, love'. And his name will go down for plumbing school as soon as I have checked out the league tables.
Second (interesting off-shoot) is that the novel's temporary departure has given me space to prepare properly for this week's Comm. Ed class and in doing so has reminded me to stay open-minded and try new things, or in this case, genres (thanks, Simon!). The topic is Science Fiction. As the tutor, I shouldn't really say that it's only now I've actually realised that science fiction is, obviously, based in science fact. It's really not my thing, although one of the best books I've ever read is Marge Piercy's 'Woman of the Edge of Time' that is partially set (or is it?) in an altered reality. Oh, and I love Star Trek, but only because I really, really, REALLY want a Mr Data of my very own. Anyway, research has already taught me a lot and - should I ever get time to read - given me a list of SF novels that might well be an education.
So, I can hear you all wondering, how on earth am I going to tie these random thoughts together in a scintillating conclusion? Obvious. If the novel doesn't pass muster as is, I shall simply introduce an alien plumber into Chapter 10 and call it experimental fiction. End of.