Category Archives: Chainshot

My First Novel

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!

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