Hazel McHaffie


It’s some time since I could give you concrete evidence of progress with the current novel: Killing Me Gently, but this week marks a major MAJOR milestone.

4.15am on Saturday morning
I’m up and onto the computer.

Peace reigns; the brain is whirling, the fingers flying.




10am on Saturday morning
The last 3500 words are written … culminating in THE END.

First draft ………. COMPLETED! Wahey!

Phew!! And …breathe! More so with this one – a thriller – than most. It has all come together. Characters have dragged me off piste; events have taken me down unexpected paths; but we have all come through to a finale.

Of course, there are weeks and weeks of work still ahead, refining, editing, slashing, tightening. Increasing the pace, sharpening the dialogue, quirkifying the people, authenticating the detail. But that first draft is like a kiddie’s sandcastle. All the sand has been dug up, piled in one place, roughly in shape. It looks like a castle but the turrets and crests aren’t defined, the drawbridge is wont to collapse, the flag’s at half-mast. Now the real artistry can begin, but hopefully there’ll be no more scavenging, no more turning stones to see what’s underneath.

Another task still to come is to make contact with professionals – social workers, health visitors, GPs, paediatricians, psychiatrists. To present scenarios from the book to them; seeking their expertise as to plausibility and accuracy. If X does this and this, what are the implications for M and R and P? What would happen next in real life? Is my scenario possible? That’s a very exciting stage. Discussing the characters with other people makes them even more real.

And the title …? I’m veering towards Killing me Kindly … or perhaps …?? Everything’s up in the air. But I feel liberated. I have space to breathe. Space to stroll on the real sand, maybe even dig in it with grandchildren!

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