NOVEL HOW I WROTE MY FIRST

Lancashire Life - - ARTS & EVENTS -

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

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