Work In Progress

Entry by: Paul McDermott

23rd February 2018
Work in progress
“An intense, indescribable feeling of supreme satisfaction caused by that moment, that elusive split-second when you can take a Work in Progress file and re-label it ‘First Draft’ followed by a WordCount and maybe even a Working Title!”
Peter added a smiley eMoji to the update on his Facebook page and hit “Enter”. He was amazed to see an immediate flurry of ‘Likes’ recorded. Had he succeeded in acquiring a small number of devoted Followers, insomniacs who had nothing better to do than log onto his Blog page at stupid o’clock on a winter’s morning?
Word Count: 101,357. He was sufficiently experienced from earlier publications and realistic enough to accept that the first round of edits would still feel like savage, death-dealing, brutal surgery, akin to performing brain surgery with nothing more than a machete and a tin-opener, but he’d been through that particular agony more than once. It was something he personally knew he’d never be able to treat with equanimity or indifference: and yes, it still hurt …
Has he made the right choice? Is this specific Work in Progress relevant to or even reflected in the day’s main news, or current affairs? It’s a commonly held opinion that Comedy is the most difficult of all genre to write successfully. This is especially true of Political Satire, which was what his Submission was intended to be. Mixing his metaphors with wild abandon, he wonders if he has perhaps shot himself in the foot by attempting to sail these uncharted waters?
He scans the titles of the remaining WiPs on his hard drive. Complete works, all of them having been subjected to at least one thorough Draft. Some of them had also been Submitted and Declined – he disliked intensely the alternative epithet, “Rejected”.
This one, his latest baby, was about to flex its wings and attempt to fly the nest for the very first time.
He contemplates the variety of genre he has experimented with while developing his own distinctive style of writing. Historical, Family Saga, Alternative History: Romance, Thriller, Sci-Fi and Fantasy were all represented, plus three shorter works aimed at younger readers with a more limited Attention Span. His one regret, he doesn’t feel he has the ‘insider knowledge’ to write a quality Western, which is almost the only form of entertainment his elderly father watches on TV.
All the same he has his own standards, his own principles. Well-meaning friends often suggested to him that there were big bucks to be earned by writing Smut, aka Porn or (to give it its ‘Sunday Name’) Erotica. Steadfastly he refuses to contribute to the sleaze peddled by the ‘top-shelf’ toilet paper masquerading as magazines.
The self-doubt and hesitation lasts but a few seconds. Recently he’s discovered a small but reputable publisher which doesn’t posture behind a pretentious London postcode. Somehow he knows his proposal for a novel challenging the oft-repeated mantra that civilisation and culture did not exist north of the Watford Gap, where the Savages still wore woad and dragged their partners to the matrimonial bed by their hair.
Yes! He boots up his laptop and opens a fresh page. The Cover Letter he is about to compose will see his Work in Progress transformed to Words in Print, a Wonder in Preparation? …