It’s been a while, but here’s an update:
The book I started on in June was finished before Christmas. That is, the story was completed, but of course, it is not completely finished. I have sent the manuscript to someone who has kindly agreed to read it it and give feedback.
In writing, and in anything, to be open to critique, especially negative, destructive, damaging, painful, crushing criticism is absolutely crucial. So-called “constructive criticism” is too often a cover for a lack of ability to accept one’s own faults and weaknesses.
On that happy note, I can say that without some painful criticism of my first novel, the semi-autobiographical In Good Faith, I would never have had the idea to the story that I have now completed. The working title for that is Calling to Kill, although I am also considering How to Kill a Pastor. Do please let me know which you like best. Answers on a postcard (or just in the comments section). The criticism sparked a thought that turned into a pale flame that eventually became a roaring fire of inspiration and the new story became a reality.
Having completed this story, I decided to take it easy over Christmas, and read an Evelyn Waugh story (Put Out More Flags) and the spoof Famous Five story Brexit Island, which someone gave me for Christmas.
As Candlemas put an end to Christmas it was time to turn my attention to a book project that I started a few years ago. The idea had started as the story of four students going up to a university loosely modelled on Oxford/Cambridge, and the experiences that influences their process towards their more mature self. After just above 46000 words I had become stuck. Well, now I have come unstuck, so to speak. The story will have a death. It will be a killing of some sort, but is it murder? You will have to read the story to find out. It has an evil professor and a good don. It has some great characters, and some loathsome ones. Some inspiration is drawn from the concept of the Stepford Student.
The original working title was The Students, but now it is Oliver or The Body in the River. How about that? The book will have sex and violence, so it is bound to be a best seller.
Publishers, here I am.