Carrion by Graeme Cumming

Carrion – Graeme tells the story behind the story

In my early forties, I had a realisation.

I hadn’t written anything for years.  I knew I was good enough to become a published author, but I needed to take the writing seriously.

To me, taking it seriously meant writing every day.  When that wasn’t practical – I had a business, a young family and many other distractions – I couldn’t really consider myself a serious writer.  My mindset was: if you can’t write every day, there’s no point in writing.

So the realisation wasn’t that I hadn’t written for ages, but that my mindset was stopping me.  I enjoyed writing, but I wasn’t experiencing that enjoyment because I’d made this unconscious decision to not write unless it was daily.

So I made a new decision: enjoy writing.  If I wrote every day, that’d be great, but if I didn’t write for months at a time, that’d be okay too – as long as I went back when I could.

But what to write when I had over a dozen novels in my head?  One jumped out at me.  A fantasy – complete with dragon and troll – parts had formed bedtime stories for my children, so I had ideas of what it would look like.  It needed some plotting, but not much, and with a fantasy story you just made it all up so there wouldn’t be any research required…right?

Enthused, I started and wrote each day – until things cropped up and distracted me.  Then I’d go back to it, then something else would happen…  And so it went on, which is why it took five years to complete the first draft.

The draft was okay.  It needed work doing to it: the title, plot holes, tightening up the pace…  So it became Carrion, I re-wrote sections, edited others and kept reviewing it until it felt ready.  Then I sent it to my editor.

The only words missing from the feedback I received were: “Must try harder.”  But he had a point.  Actually, he had a whole list of points, which made me realise a lot needed to change.

So… back to the drawing board.  Many elements remain.  I like the characters, the action scenes, the underlying story and the twists along the way.  But the bad guy needed beefing up and writing his back story opened up a whole new world for me.  The trick now is merging those two worlds.

Carrion plays an intrinsic part of the network of novels to come, so those worlds will be merged!