My First Novel

12 Jan

Shaun Ivory writes:

Very pleased to take over from Debbie! Just hope I can make sense of it all… Next step I suppose is to get my brain in gear, in terms of what to put out there. This is apparently a system for me to publicise my work and wherever possible help others to progress their own stuff.

I have practised the hard and lonely art of writing in most of its forms for over half a century, with moderate success here and there. Just what one would expect from over half a century’s scribbling, typing and keyboarding! It’s a lot more than some and a great deal less than most, I fear. My own fault; I blame work and family but – like most people – I have to admit I am basically lazy. This reveals itself quite markedly in the field of literature. We are not all Stephen Kings and Charles Dickenses – thankfully! Check out the old chestnut: Oh, yes, I could write a book about my life. Reply: Er, which part, sir? All of it or the ‘one day in the life of Leopold Bloom’ kind of book, as in Ulysses? I have actually read that one twice, no mean feat. I had arranged to go over to Dublin in 2004 for the novel’s centenary, so thought I had better! In the event nobody asked me anything about it; everybody was too busy smoking, talking and drinking. But that’s part of an aspiring writer’s life too – reading a lot. Not the…

It took me several years to write my first novel, Chainshot, on an old manual, before going to work each day and after the kids were all in bed and before I had to crawl upstairs to my beloved wife. Realise now my energies might have been more creatively prioritised! But write it I did, with many sore fingertips and much ribbon expiration. It came out at 800 A4 pages and with three re-writes constituted over 1,000,000 words. That’s a lot of tapping – and Tippex. After submissions and advice to cut it in half I ended up with 600 pages, only to be pipped by a certain Tom Clancy. The rest is, as they say, is history but I didn’t even get a footnote.

Eventually other novels followed, interspersed with short stories, articles, radio and TV scripts, talks on the BBC and RTE. But whatever skills I learned and honed  were on Chainshot, for good or ill, and it’s still my favourite. Anybody out there still interested in a Cold War techno-thriller, complete with stereotypical heroes and baddies plus a prototype Soviet submarine and American nuclear devices? A lotta trees went into it!

1 Comment

Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Chainshot, Novels, Writing


One response to “My First Novel

  1. shaunshelf

    January 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Hi Pete,
    You look tough enough to be in a crime novel but your job profile indicates otherwise. Thanks for the thanks! Of your 7 likes the last one is one of my favourites too, living just 30 miles away in Redcar. Taken all my grandkids there and indulged their passion for shellfish, painted St Mary’s church(on paper, that is!) and even written a 6,000 words S.S., a pastiche on the arrival of Dracula’s ship in the storm and what happened to the fisherman’s son who was brushed past by the grey hound that leapt ashore.The contact changes his life forever. My publisher wants me to extend it to novel length but I am tied up with this fourth novel, about an Irish immigrant’s life and progress through the Wild West, ending up in early Hollywood movies. At my age(77) probably my last.
    Have to dash now, my day for volunteer work at the big hospital. But will get back later when time permits. Not tonight – my one night out with ‘the lads’!
    Shaun Ivory


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