Keeping Mum

By Dark Angels

Fifteen Dark Angels produce something stranger than fiction

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Halfway there!

Hello fans,

(Do you mind if I call you fans? I thought ‘fans’ wasn’t too presumptuous given that you’ve all paid good money to support our book and see this post. For which THANK YOU. And do tell all your friends. 35% and counting.)

So, what to tell you? Well, first and foremost, you’ll be pleased to know that we have written half the book – and so are we, actually. And I’m especially pleased since in a fit of madness it became my job to make sure that we do get it written and that your support is not wasted. Not that I’m surprised, however, knowing my fellow Dark Angels. Nothing is going to stop this book being finished – and finished on time – as well as being a cracking good story.

I’m Claire, by the way; I’m writing Philip, the child at the hotel. While we were burying ourselves in the far north of Scotland to come up with the story, I somewhat rashly suggested that we should have a schedule and a project plan and all those boring things to make sure the book happens – something kind of necessary with 15 writers, I thought, being a copywriter with a project management brain when I’m not writing collective novels. Everyone thought it was a great idea – they also thought that in suggesting it I’d volunteered for the job. And after that it was too late.

So what’s it like project managing (is that a verb? I know people use it today but I really don’t like it – doesn’t sound right to me. Does it to you? Views, anyone? Oh dear, I must get back to the point) – so what’s it like project managing (I’ll use it for now) a collective novel?

Actually, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Why? It might sound a bit corny but I think it’s true: it’s because every one of us 15 writers really wants to do it, so getting people to stick to a schedule and do what they’ve committed to doing isn’t, in fact, all that hard. Also there’s something about being Dark Angels, having shown each other the sensitive underbelly of our writing in previous projects, that makes us feel connected with each other – we don’t want to let each other down. So it's our best work, produced quickly to a tight schedule.

‘As I Died Lying’ is an exciting thing to do with a really fantastic group of people. And another important thing: we’re not precious about our writing. Well, individuals may be precious about their own stuff, I wouldn’t presume to speak for anyone else on that! But in this context, writing a collective novel, no one is precious. It couldn’t work any other way. And we all defer to our editorial team of ‘(d)archangels’ who are collectively first among equals as overall editors of the book. Because, as you can imagine with 15 writers, there are countless continuity points that need resolving… and resolved they will be by the time you see it, you can be sure of that.

I was going to tell you a bit more of the how when it comes to collective novel writing, but I think I’ve gone on long enough for one post, so on that note I’ll say cheerio.

Do come back next week, when my colleague, Roger the Robin will be sharing his views on…

… well, with R the R it could be anything.

Watch this space.


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