• Richard James

The Wood & The Trees

Updated: Apr 29, 2019


I'm a third of the way through writing the next book in the Bowman Of The Yard series (provisionally titled The Devil At The Dock), and I'm convinced it's the worst thing I've ever written. But don't worry, I'm an actor so it's a feeling I'm familiar with.


Of course, I know it's not rubbish. I've got it all plotted out (in my head, at least), it's an intriguing tale of extortion and conspiracy (what's not to like?) and my characters are well rounded and interesting. It's just part of the process. Ask any actor what the worst part of rehearsals is, and they'll more than likely say it's about a third of the way through, when it feels like you literally have no idea what you're doing. The lines are sketchy, character motivation seems bolted on and the whole performance seems stilted. Come the opening night, of course, and the pieces fall into place. The actor realises they're part of a greater whole. It's the same with writing (for me, at least). For now, I've lost sight of the broader picture and can only see the page in front of me. Because I know where the plot is going, it seems predictable. Without this foreknowledge, of course, the reader will see every twist and turn as a surprise. Hopefully, they'll love being back in the company of characters they've met before and enjoy exploring new areas of Victorian London. Like the early weeks of the actor's rehearsal process, it's a phase to get through.

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