[Originally published 30 November 2012]
I decided to have a go at writing the novel that ended up as King’s Ransom when I was on holiday about 20 years ago – in fact, staying not far from where I now live. I’d bought a few paperbacks with me, one of which was one of the worst pieces of fiction I have ever read – worse, even, than The Da Vinci Code, which is saying something. Everything about it was dreadful: plot, characterisation, story development, sentence construction – everything. And, being a professional writer, I thought I should be able to do better than that. That was the genesis of King’s Ransom.
I mentioned a few months ago that I have a single copy of the original draft of the novel, one of a number that I printed to give to friends and relations to read. The draft, marked in my friend Barry Franklin’s neat red hand, was in a box file with a lot of other papers, which I was looking through this morning. Among the papers is a notebook in which I jotted down the original plot outline. It’s quite an interesting document, to me at least. One odd thing, which I had forgotten, is that the hero’s original name was Steve Fuller rather than James King. Some of the other character names remain the same, as does the name of an invented country in what was – at the time – newly independent Soviet East Asia.
I’m getting on OK with the revision, in between writing blogs about social media on the one hand and electronic components on the other. At times, being a writer is lots of fun.