Book #2 – Progress Report – October 2018


It’s the MacGuffin!

I finished writing book #2 yesterday! That’s cause for celebration – get the bunting out, pop the champagne cork and prepare for world domination. But wait a minute, what’s that you’re saying? Editing? Revising? Damn, I forgot all about those trivialities.

As any writer knows, a book isn’t finished when you type the last paragraph of your manuscript. There’s all those pesky typos and other errors to correct, and for the most part, that’s the easy bit. That section that you were scratching your head over, whilst your fingers waited patiently for your brain to figure out the next part? Surely you remember it? You know, you couldn’t figure out how to get your character to visit that spooky house in the dead of night so, in the interest of ploughing on with the story, you invented some laughable plot point in which an overripe banana acted as the MacGuffin. Oh yes, that part. Well now you’re going to have to re-write that bit and a dozen more like it.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture. For the most part, I’m really pleased with the way that the plot and characters have panned out in the sequel to Monkey Arkwright. But there are definitely areas that could do with sharpening up, and any plot points that don’t quite work will no doubt jump out at me when I re-read the entire manuscript over a couple of days.

After the horror of editing my debut – when it took my youngest daughter, Rachel, to point out that I had forgotten most of what I learned about the comma all those years ago – we’ve been doing a steady edit of batches of the 35 chapters as the book has progressed. It wasn’t that I didn’t break my narrative up with commas, I was pretty good at that. But it seems that I wasn’t very good at adding them before ‘ands’ and ‘buts’. I’m glad to say that thing have improved a little on book #2. An editing session for my first book was generally Rachel telling me, “Dad, you need a comma there.” This time around, there’s far less of that and I now get the occasional “Dad, you don’t need a comma there.”

Anyway, I’ve finished what I like to call draft 1.5, two months earlier than planned. I started writing in February and given that there were at least eight weeks where I didn’t write in the period since (blame my love of holidays, mini-breaks and watching the World Cup), it means that I have polished off the 100,000 words in just over six months! Not bad considering this is a hobby, and I have a full-time job. I should point out that I spent at least two months jotting down the plot and character arcs well before I started writing, so the point I’m at now represents roughly a year of work on the project. Although I don’t write whilst on holiday, it does make for valuable thinking time, and reflecting on what to do next. Editing and revision will continue until we’re happy with the manuscript, but I still aim to publish in February 2019.

I can feel the promotion engine whirring into life once more, and I’ll reveal the title and cover image for book#2 in due course.

Rob Campbell is the author of “Monkey Arkwright”, a mystery that will appeal to fans of 80s films such as “Stand By Me” and “The Goonies”, where people stumble across strange things in the woods or uncover dark secrets hidden in the abandoned places around a small town.


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