A Fresh Start and New Perspectives
As I've not been doing much in the way of writing over the last couple of months, I've been thinking a lot about the different projects I've got either on the go or in the planning stages. I'm still deciding whether to just take the plunge and self-publish and take on the mammoth task of promoting my work single-handedly or whether to take the time to keep sending inquiries out to agents and publishers. Part of me feels as though it's a cop out to stop trying to get someone else to publish my work, but part of me also knows that there are some really good self-published books out there and that there are a multitude of reasons, all of them very good, why self-publishing would suit me better, not least the fact that I plan to write in several different genres, which would make going with an independent publisher far more challenging!
Just before we completed on the flat, I finished the first half of the novel I'm currently working on and that's always my danger time. It's the moment where I want to start editing, but know there's still an awful lot of writing left to do. It's also the moment when I start to question myself and doubt whether the book is any good or not. This time, I've been forced to take an elongated break and it's been even worse. Yet again, I found myself questioning whether it's worth persevering, whether I have the necessary talent etc etc etc. Deep down, I know the answer - plenty of people who I trust have told me to keep going, but sometimes it all just feels a bit stale and I know I need to go back and look over things again and do a fresh edit.
I was reminded of this recently when I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. I first saw this show on a school trip in 1993, not long after Philip Schofield donned the coloured coat. I fell head over heels in love with it and have since lost count of the number of times I've seen it. Each performance has been a little bit different, but essentially, much of the visual humour has stayed the same over the last thirty years. Even when the film version was released, the staging was almost identical to the numerous stage versions I've seen. I'd heard rumours that this one was a little different and wasn't sure how I felt about that, so ignored them in favour of getting excited about finally seeing it again. I'd been gutted in 2019 to not be able to get tickets and then it had been postponed from Summer 2020 because of the C-word so it had been a long wait! Arthur had done his best to make up for it, by watching the video A LOT and listening to the Jason Donovan/Linzi Hately soundtrack even more! It wasn't the same though...
So it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I sat in the Palladium once again, waiting for the curtain to rise. There had been numerous changes, not least that several of the brothers were played by children and the Narrator took on the role of both Jacob and Mrs Potiphar! Go Go Go Joseph had also been changed from the traditional 1960s colourfest to a mid 90s style song, complete with the 90s outfits I remember wearing as a teenager! I wasn't sure it was going to work, but it absolutely did. Henry liked Joseph when he was younger, but by the time he'd been 'Arthur'd' with it, he was sick of the sound of it. However, at the interval, he shuffled across the empty seats just to tell me how much he was enjoying this updated version. In spite of me knowing the whole show off by heart, there were moments in this where lines had been changed and although it threw my internal score off a little, it was definitely for the better. It felt like I was watching a completely new show - it was fresh, it was exciting, but it had retained the colourful campness that is the heart of Joseph. It had clearly been changed with love and care and it was better for it. Needless to say, Arthur absolutely loved it - particularly Linzi Hately - and we all left the theatre absolutely buzzing and humming all the songs.
So what did this tell me about my own writing? Well, mainly that just because you like something and think it's good, it never hurts to take a fresh look at it and approach it from a different perspective. So that's what I'm going to do once the boys are all back at school and work next week. I'll finish the current novel and while that's shelved for editing in a few weeks, I'm going to use those weeks to go back over the older stuff again and do a final checkover of it all before I decide which route to take into publishing. While I'm doing that, I can also decide which of the hundred projects I have lined up, I actually want to tackle next!