NOVEL HOW I WROTE MY FIRST
Manchester-based author Trevor Mark Thomas reveals the strain and the pain of having his debut novel published
Ifirst started to write years ago. It was to be a modern science fiction novel in the vein of JG Ballard. I got about forty pages in and decided to look back at what I had written. It was dreadful. Page upon page of turgid, overwritten prose. However, among the dross, every now and then, I’d see a sentence which worked. Generally, the “good” sentences were short, clean, and sparse. Most importantly, they felt as if they had been written by someone else. Being a bloody-minded sort, I kept going. Grinding through novel after failed novel. Trying different genres on for size. Slowly, slowly improving.
About four years ago, I reached a point in my life when I realised I had one more shot at doing something I really cared about. Above all else, I wanted to get a novel published. I felt that achieving this would, in some small sense, make my time on this planet worthwhile. So, after (irresponsibly) quitting my job, and (responsibly) moving back north with my girlfriend, I decided to do a Masters in creative writing at the Manchester Writing School. To pass the MA, you had to complete a 60,000 word novel in two years.
I started the course with no idea of what I wanted to write. I had no story. No characters. In a panic, I decided to list some scenes, images, and characters I thought would be interesting. At the time I was living in the Peak District. I did a lot of walking and loved the loneliness and beauty of the place. I decided
Trevor Mark Thomas - known as Mark - left, at a book reading agfter the launch of his debut novel, The Bothy