Friday, 7 December 2012

I so wanted to be a novelist

My new hobby had generated a 30,000 word manuscript in a couple of weeks. I spent the next few months grabbing my laptop at every opportunity and tweaking the existing plot or writing new material. In my own head the book had a good structure. There were clearly only a dozen or so main characters, although I had added a bunch of others to add a bit of colour or share an interesting aside. It was obvious to me where the main thread of the story lay, it would be clear to everyone else too. Wouldn’t it?

That’s when someone pointed out that I actually had 23 main characters and about another 20 others who were introduced and quickly dropped. Anyone reading the book would not know which were the important ones and which would never appear again. Thai names are often one syllable nicknames, it was actually not that easy, even to remember who the main characters were.

That was when my dream of being a novelist died. The book would never work as a novel but had potential as a series of inter-linked short stories. I started to cut and paste and discovered that I had about a dozen quite distinct plot lines. “Thai Lottery”, the novel was about to become “Thai Lottery… and Other Stories from Pattaya, Thailand”.

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