Whoever it was that said art was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration was right. And who ever said you needed 'bum glue' to succeed as a writer was spot on.
Today I spent from 8am till 3pm working and re-working the most critical scene in the book. It's the third to last chapter.
I have gone over it and over it and over it. Reading it out loud to hear the music of the writing. Here is an extract of the draft that I'm quite pleased with:
He was silent for a moment, remembering the last time he had seen the ghost of his father, remembering how a weight, like that of a heavy cloak, had fallen from his shoulders. It was a feeling he was experiencing now. ‘When I was at Scone,’ he said. ‘I saw my father in the field.’ Rachel frowned. ‘It was an allusion,’ he added quickly. ‘Once the crown was on my head and the sceptre in my hand, I suddenly felt the heaviness I had been carrying for so long, fall away.’
‘That was good, wasn’t it?’
‘Yes, but these past months I have pulled an even heavier burden onto my back. I have filled the pockets of the royal clothes with rocks and stones, picking them up along my way rather than letting lie or throwing them away or handing them to others who are better suited to hold them.’
‘Where are these rocks now, Fleance?’
‘The biggest one, you helped me to remove it. I have spent my life,’ he said. ‘Living up to a standard that I thought my father wanted.’
‘That is good. Banquo was good. A good man and to measure yourself against him is a worthy notion.’
‘Perhaps when I was younger and still becoming a man but you have shown me what Blair, Preston even Duncan tried to get me to see.’ He covered her hand with his. ‘What is it that makes us truly grow up, Rachel?’
She thought for a bit. ‘Time. Opportunity. Loss.’
‘Yes each of those but I now can see that it is the point at which we make decisions for ourselves not for what we believe other people, even God, would think of those decisions, but ones which are born from our own wisdom, understanding and beliefs.’
My husband said to me today that out of all my books this is the one that I have had to battle the hardest. He is right. It has been an exhausting experience but sometimes it has been good.
I am a perfectionist and I love reading great writing but I love more producing great writing.
So I sent this chapter off to be scrutinized while I prepare to write the final bit. (I've actually written the final two chapters - this one is an important bridging scene)