Today, after a bit of a marathon writing session, I finished the tidy-up of my Certainty rewrite. Unsurprisingly, given that I had to rewrite every single non-dialogue sentence in the novel in order to convert them to present tense, there were a number of little mistakes that I had to sort out. The big things weren’t a problem, as I’d pretty much turned every “said” into a “say”, but I had missed changing various random words in the middle of sentences to the new tense, and so the final check-through was a valuable exercise to prevent me from looking like an idiot. But as well as the grammar stuff I also took the opportunity to put in a few more funnies and self-deprecating humour for my lead character, and the result is definitely the best draft of the novel yet by a country mile. Is it good enough? Maybe. I’m quietly confident about its chances (he says, writing that sentence in a blog post). The new opening was the key and that really worked, so I’m very much looking forward to what 2011 is going to bring.

Now the new draft has gone off to one half of the estimable SL Grey team (they wrote the upcoming high concept definite horror hit, The Mall), to be obliterated by the lovely Sarah Lotz, and when I get the feedback from her and look at the changes she suggests, the novel will be a lock and I’m going to sell it. I know exactly what I have to do next, too – the short story I wrote recently fits perfectly with the skeleton of a plot that I had already established for the premise that I’ve called The Man Who Shouldn’t Speak, and this extra bit of character stuff solves some issues that I had with the new novel’s proposed narrative. In lazy literary shorthand I’d describe it as a cross between The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Enemy Of The State. If the signal to noise ratio behaves itself, it’s going to be proper good.

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