Most of you have already heard the news – you know, the ‘big news’ I’ve been coyly touting but refusing to divulge for the last month or so. If you haven’t, here it is.
Canongate have just announced they’re publishing my fiction debut, The Honours. It’s due out in the UK next year.
When I started Death Of 1000 Cuts, I didn’t have an agent, and I didn’t have a finished novel. I can’t say this without sounding cheesy and slightly self-congratulatory, but it’s been a real privilege and a thought-provoking pleasure to work with fellow writers on their first pages. Writing good fiction is so. Fucking. Hard. For me, anyway. I suspect for most authors. So it’s heartening to encounter so many artists who want to do the tough work of trying to make their prose better.
Articulating precisely why I think a sentence fails, week after week, has helped refine my critical eye and massively aided the self-editing process. The novel is all the better for the work we’ve put in together, on the line, in these posts.
In case this is starting to sound like a swan song, don’t worry, it’s not. I’m still going to be here every week, being curmudgeonly and I hope passionate and helpful. I just wanted to take this week off, partially to celebrate, and partially because I’ve just come back off a week’s holiday with my wife and I foreswore all work so I could focus the sucking lamprey maw of my beguiling neediness more fully upon her.
I’m stoked with how The Honours has turned out. It’s been a team effort between me, a trusted cohort of beta readers, my agent and my editor. In most of my life I’m crap at patience, but with this book – steered by some smart friends and my wife – I took my time, put in extra research and redrafting, and pushed myself to make it actually good. I think that love will show when you read it. I think you will like it a lot.
Death Of 1000 Cuts has never purported to be a ‘how to get published’ blog and I’d hate that be the threshold by which you evaluate your work. We’re shooting for ‘make your fiction the absolute best it can be’. Some great novels get published, some shitty novels get published. The important thing is that you can look your audience in the eye during a reading and say: ‘I did my very best’.
Admittedly that would be a weird, passive-aggressive thing to say during an actual reading. Don’t. Or maybe whisper it: I did my very best. A single teardrop gliding down your full, authory jowl.
That’s all for now. I won’t say too much about what the novel’s about till nearer publication. See you next week for another episode of ‘Tim Clare Gets Angry At Sentences’. And thank you for your support.