No, I don’t mean that as some kind of brag. It’s not so much my ability to write well structured, lyrical sentences or build convincing characters has dramatically improved in the last few years, it’s more the fact the consistency of my writing sessions that has gained a wealth of momentum. That’s to say I find it easier to bounce ideas around, place them onto the page, and make them make sense in a space that’s not solely in my head.
I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my creative writing with each subsequent novel I’ve written. I am only in the process of writing novel number three, which in the grand scheme of things might not sound enough to make such a statement. But novel writing is an arduously slow endeavour, and what might seem like a small, singular project, could actually broken down into dozens of partitions. My first novel (currently still in the process of being edited by myself and my publisher’s editor), has probably undergone nine full edits at this point, and that’s excluding any edits the editors has done. My second novel, Like Pigs, has already been under the chopping block five or six times. Although I can only say that I’ve produced two completed novels, that is years of work.
I keep telling myself to focus on shorter form fiction, such as flash fiction pieces and short stories, but the constant pull of novel-length ideas seem to govern my creative thoughts.
I do believe that this third novel I’m currently writing – at this point in time carrying the working title of Human Zoo – will turn out to be my best work to date. Perhaps that’s something that all authors say, or at least convince themselves of. But I truly believe it. I feel like I’ve learnt so much from the early days of writing and editing The Black Rook, to the last few chaotic years of working on Like Pigs.
Human Zoo is a daring project, as far as I’m concerned. It’s roughly halfway through its first rough draft, which I’m trying to complete as quickly as possible, before the burst of momentum I’m currently experiencing has a chance to stagger to a halt.
I guess I should wait until I’ve completed the first draft of HZ or its first edit before I can confidently determine whether or not my writing has improved. All I can say right now is that it definitely feels like it’s improved, and I find that exciting.