The first narrative draft of a novella, entitled One Crowded Hour. As you can see, there is quite a big difference between the first and second (typed) draft. And an even greater difference between the second and third drafts (which I shall post here at a later date). The initial handwritten draft is raw, very raw — verging on embarrassing, and testament to Ernest Hemingway’s assertion that “the first draft of anything is shit.” Very few people other than myself can decipher my handwriting and for that I am grateful.
One Crowded Hour is set in Hong Kong at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Written in the first person by the protagonist, ANDREW MARCH, it pays homage to the hard-boiled, crime novels of Dashiell Hammett (author of the brilliant ‘The Maltese Falcon’) and Raymond Chandler (‘Lady In The Lake’ and ‘The Long Goodbye’).
The Premise is relatively simple: a part-time private investigator — recently diagnosed with a terminal illness — is on the trail of a serial killer in Hong Kong. The only problem is, with the city in Coronavirus lockdown, no one seems to care — and time is running out.
One Crowded Hour is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2020.
Often, the third draft for me is the messiest of them all, because it is the one where I really start to iron-out plot irregularities, correct any style issues and “kill my darlings” :-) Here is the third draft of a short story I completed last month. It eventually ran to four drafts before I felt confident enough to type-up the final draft on my iPad. As you can see, tidy and clean it is not …