The Backstreets of Purgatory

By Helen Taylor

Caravaggio in Glasgow: A Tale of Art, Insanity and Irn Bru

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

How long?

Or even, how long?

How long does it take to write a novel and get it published?

Daft question, I know. String, piece of, etc but I'm thinking maybe you guys might be asking a similar question. After all, some of you pledged your cash way back in July 2016. So while I can't answer for everyone else who has ever written a novel, I can answer for myself. 

You: Helen, how long did it take to you to write The Backstreets of Purgatory and get it published?

Me: How familiar are you with the geologic time scale?



I first got the idea sometime in the Precambrian era. Wrote several chapters for my MA. Perfected each one (several thousand rewrites) as submissions for tutorials etc. Plankton were becoming more complex. Recognisable fish-like creatures inhabited the warm seas. Half way through my MA, I changed tutors, had a major rethink about where the book was going, binned my perfected chapters (cried a bit) and rewrote everything I had already done, by which time fish were sprouting rudimental legs and learning to breath on land. Some several million years later, I had a completed draft. It was accompanied by an explosion in the diversity of species, some of which were quite big and roared.

Showed this completed draft to a writing friend and colleague who basically said, you know what it was like before you rewrote it? Maybe you should go back to that idea. 

A meteorite crashes to earth. The dinosaurs are wiped out. 

Major rewrite number two.

Showed it to same friend. Yes, better, but you need to do this this this and this. 

Another rewrite, but the fundamental structure remains unchanged. It is a bit more than a polish but not as much as a complete rethink. Recognisable amphibians, reptiles and birds are populating the planet.

Last bit of tidying up and we're basically at Homo Erectus and his buddies.

Submit to Unbound. Wait a bit to hear. Hunter gathers become farmers.

Accepted by Unbound. Modern man as we know him. Modern woman gets the vote.

Make the video. The internet is invented. My project goes live.

And the rest you know.

The target publication date for the trade edition is July 12th this year. Special editions will be earlier though. By the time Backstreets hits the shops, it will be two years since my project went live. But I guess it isn't that long in the scheme of things.


PS Hello to all the new supporters. Thank you for joining the crowd. You're all ace.

Image credit: Nicked from Geocoops  



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