Report from the Writing Den

20 Apr

I’ve just returned from the writing den and a very restful week in the Breton countryside. There was a trip to the coast with beach-combing, a visit to a beautiful town filled with timber-framed buildings, long country walks and a meal at a crêperie for a friend’s birthday.

My reading material consisted of the first draft of a writing friend’s very long novel. It was just as well that it was entertaining and well written! And then I began re-reading Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. It’s every bit as good as I’d remembered.

As mentioned, I’ve recently switched from writing one work-in-progress to another. I’d actually left this manuscript on the back-burner for a year and a half. For all that, I’ve managed to get fully immersed in it again already and I’m currently feeling pretty confident about it. It’s a sequel of sorts to the war novel that I’ve written. As I’ve remarked before, it’s probably deeply unwise to embark upon the sequel to a novel that has yet to find a publisher. But it’s a book that I want to write, so what the hell! Even if it turned out to be a work of genius, such is the state of UK publishing, it probably still wouldn’t make it into print. I’ve added another five thousand words or so. Almost from the outset, I’d imagined a sequence of three books – the first set in the Second World War, the second in the Cold War and the third in the near-future. I even wrote a couple of thousand words toward the last of these projects, so all in all, it was a very productive break.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Early spring view through the writing den window

I noted that I’d finished reading Tove Janssons’s Moomin books to my children and that we were going to have to decide what to read next. We took The Wizard of Oz with us and we’re now near the end. They’ve enjoyed the story and I’ve enjoyed doing the voices (you should hear my Dorothy…). Any suggestions for our next read will be gratefully received.

HappyEaster or Ēostre’s festival, whichever you prefer!

All text and images

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12 Responses to “Report from the Writing Den”

  1. sara33ia April 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Reblogged this on sara33ia.

  2. PK Read April 20, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Love the view from the writing den, and congratulations on all the work completed.

    I might suggest, for future reading, translations of some of Michael Ende’s books. Momo, The Neverending Story – great, timeless stuff, and rather underrated in the English-speaking world. Also, Astrid Lindgren – her short stories are a delight.

  3. Paul Sutton Reeves April 20, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    A room just has to have a view, I think… Thanks for your encouragement, Paula! And thanks for all of those suggestions – plenty there to investigate.

  4. A Writer With Something To Say April 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Sounds like you had a great time!

  5. jhuwevans April 21, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    The Works has all the OZ books in case the kids are that interested. I probably shouldn’t boast of my witch’s cackle. And I definitely shouldn’t do it on golf courses.

    • Paul Sutton Reeves April 21, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      Hi Huw. Does it now? I read somewhere that he wrote the others as ‘cash-ins’. Have you read any of them? I enjoyed adding in the cackles myself…

  6. J.D.Hughes April 21, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    I see no conflict in beginning a sequel to a book that hasn’t been published. The only question is: does it need to be written? If the answer is yes, you have your ‘what the hell’.

    I remember Moomin troll well 🙂

  7. Paul Sutton Reeves April 21, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Hi JD and thanks for commenting. It does indeed demand to be written and so it shall be!

    I’ve enjoyed spending the last few years in Moomintroll’s company so I’m looking for somebody equally convivial for the next couple.

  8. Mari Biella April 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    Sounds like you had a great time, Paul, and congratulations on getting so much done. Like J.D., I don’t see any problem with writing a sequel to a novel that has not yet been published. If you feel that the sequel demands to be written, then that’s a good enough reason to go ahead and do it!

    Happy (belated) Easter!

  9. Paul Sutton Reeves April 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for the congrats and encouragement. Our little break was just what the doctor ordered.

    Conventional wisdom would have it that I should be focusing on writing something ‘commercial’, to a given market, in a specific genre rather than the sequel to an offbeat book that hasn’t found a publisher. But that just doesn’t interest me. I continue to try to write the books I would wish to read myself. If you can’t be true to yourself in your work, what is the point in writing?

    Hoppy Easter to you too, Mari!

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