In autumn 2019 I wrote my first novel, a black comedy. It’s finally published. Here’s the story of the writing process, the editing journey, and how the first version I published wasn’t actually finished at all. As it turns out, the writing was the easy bit.
Writing The Nurse Diaries – The Life and Times of a Brighton Serial Killer
I finished The Nurse’s story in eight weeks. It ran to 85,000 words. The Nurse has been my constant companion for years, the evil imp on my shoulder. There she was, vivid and horrid as usual, so I spoke through her and the book flowed.
Writers famously struggle with writing. I didn’t. I’d dive in whenever I had the time. I didn’t plan or plot. It unfolded effortlessly. The characters emerged fully formed. So did the context, setting and style. The swearing flowed easiest of all, and the entire experience was a delight.
Over-excited and impatient – typical! – I had it copy edited by a professional. I designed a cover, had it formatted for Amazon, and self-published the book. Then changes started suggesting themselves and over the next couple of years I fiddled endlessly.
In 2021 I added another 25,000 words, another wonderful writing experience. It triggered more edits. But you’ve got to stop somewhere. In early January 2022 The Nurse told me to “stop fucking faffing around” so, at long last, I’ve published the final version. The Nurse is out there, out in the wild. I’m as proud as I can be of her, and of her story.
I just ordered a copy from Amazon. It’s such a buzz seeing your own stuff in print. And that’s what matters. I was going to market the book, promote it, do what’s needed to get it out there. Then I realised, in The Nurse’s words, “I cannot be fucking arsed.” I’m happy. I’ve done it. I’ve written an actual book. And I can’t wait to do it again.