News from the Squares

By Robert Llewellyn

The brilliant sequel to News from Gardenia

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

First Draft Complete

As of a few days ago, I have the first Draft of News From The Squares.110,943 words on 406 pages of A4. (Only in digital form, I haven't printed it out.)

I am now reading and recording each chapter, this is just for me, not the audio book. This allows me to focus on one chapter at a time and make the many revisions necessary. As I read out the manuscript there are numerous pauses as I stumble over a particular sentence. Sometimes these pauses are followed by a string of expletives as I notice a glaring error, a typo or a repeated phrase.

I've found that if I keep having to try and get my mouth around an awkward phrase or sentence, this may be a sign the writing is a bit duff. It's not always the case, there are no hard and fast rules.

I then listen back to the recording as I go through the manuscript, re-writing and changing, developing ideas and clarifying. I was half dreading this process but at the moment, it's very satisfying. I am really starting to focus on the underlying notion of women being not so much in power, but more in a position of responsibility for global society. The notion that the men have shrugged off this responsibility over several generations and happily retreated to the home, the kitchen, the children and the garden. I can see this is a personal fantasy and with the help of my terrifyingly insightful wife, many of the ideas I've been developing are tied into my relationship with my mother. 

I can see that the complex and rich relationship between mothers and sons has been a life long interest of mine, my mother was a powerful, strong and often very frustrated and angry woman. She had grown up in a culture where the most that was expected of a woman was to be wife and mother. Guess what, she wasn't happy about that, quelle surprise.

There is no question that the experience of growing up in a household with a strong mother and a quiet and retiring father, yet in a culture where men dominated public life has given me a slightly different take on the world. It's not as simple as being a man who 'is a bit of a feminist' or who 'supports women\s lib' as a Tabloid might reduce it. I think it's given me a burning question, why does it need to be like this? Is it 'natural' that children should be raised by women and men should run the political and financial world. Is it healthy? Sensible? The only way it works?

All those questions are the fire that has boiled the pot of 'News from the Squares.' 

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Richard Horsley
 Richard Horsley says:

I'm really interested to read how you tackle the transitional period of power / responsibility between the sexes (if this is something that is explained in the book), with women going from (as it was many years ago) the child bearers and carers (as their potential to fall pregnant at any time would have made them less suitable to be the primary food-bringer) to both sexes making a controlled decision to swap this arrangement (with contraceptive or possible surrogate parents being available).

Then after this, the way that the world now works with this upended role each sex has taken on (are there pockets of rebellion? Are all men happy with this arrangement?). I'm also dead interested to see how Gavin handles all of this!

Really glad to hear the book is moving on well, can't wait to get my hands on it when it's ready.


posted 7th May 2013

John Warren
 John Warren says:

There was an interesting tweet today from unbound (13/05/2013) that the manuscript for this book has arrived in their inbox - crikey.

posted 13th May 2013

Abigail Perrow
 Abigail Perrow says:

I am very excited about this. I heard your pitch at Hay last week and joined UnBound as soon after as I could.

I'm interested in different models of society in general. The role reversal of different genders sounds particularly fascinating.

posted 5th June 2013

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