In which the writer feels he deserves a pint

At 11.42 hours this morning, I completed the first draft of Humphrey and Jack. It is a good feeling. I have been working on it now for a year and twenty-one days. Ahead lie many more days of gruelling editing. But for now, I am enjoying a pint.

I don’t know how long it is. I had been keeping a running log but lost count whilst I was away in Derbyshire last week. I won’t know until I assemble it. The early chapters were not written in the order in which they will appear. In fact, I haven’t yet decided on the best order.

Once I put the novel together, I will know the word count. It is almost certainly too long and I will have to steel myself to editing down. I am not looking forward to it. ‘Killing your babies’ is what they call it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not that keen on big fat novels that take a year to read. Wolf Hall and the Game of Thrones books are fabulous, but as I grow older, I’m not so happy about committing so much of my time to one volume. Ulysses and Moby Dick I read in my youth. Wonderful: but I will not be reading them again.

I wouldn’t want people to say that about my book.

So when will Humphrey and Jack be ready? I’ve no idea. There is a collection of short stories called Cherries in the pipeline too and it might just beat H & J to publication.

I’ll only say that both will be be ready for Christmas stockings.

(Oh dear. I said the C word in August. Sorry.)