I have this manuscript novel. Well, half a manuscript. It has been around a long, long time – years. It lurks in the cyber version of a writer’s bottom drawer where abandoned projects gather to whimper and suck their thumbs. It is so old that there is even a paper version in a ring-binder. The only thing that keeps this manuscript alive and out of the dustbin is that somewhere in the back of my mind is the feeling that there is a spark still glowing.
It is a murder mystery story, set in Burma. That much is certain. I have re-written just about everything else, several times. I have changed names. Moved the action decades back and forth. Which meant changing clothes, manners, scenes, language, even cars. In my dreams I imagined the book to be optioned by Merchant Ivory, so I planned beautiful people, elegance, glitter and romance. Of course the writing style had to match that kind of book. But perhaps it should be more James Bond-ish? Zippier and action-packed, something like what my uncle Buzz used to call “bang bang, kiss kiss” – although Buzz didn’t mean what that expression has probably changed to mean today. Although – hmm, there are possibilities in that.
I have a victim – the diplomatic corpse of the title. There’s a detective and he has a name and a history of sorts. There are thirteen chapters, 40,000+ words. It’s way past time for another victim, so perhaps I should kill someone off back a bit, at around 20,000 words – but who? And why? The story has been stuck there so long, more or less forgotten, that it’s become ridiculous, a joke. Call myself a writer? Baaah. But now I have been confronted by a challenge.
An on-line organisation called Kiwi Writers has challenged members to finish a languishing, stalled project during August. I’m thinking about it – perhaps another 40,000 words would be about right. That’s 1,300 words a day, every day, for a month. It should be a doddle (fingers crossed behind my back). And if I get a move on and finish the must-do jobs currently on hand, I should be ready by August 1 to start hauling The Diplomatic Corpse back to life in some form or another.