Plot twists: layers of writing and editing mean a writer mightn't always be sure what made the cut and what didn't. Photograph: iStock/Getty Writers will write a book. And rewrite. And edit, polish and publish. After which a strange thing often happens: they forget. They forget details – characters' names, ages, places. They might even forget larger plot points. An author once told me of how a reader asked her why, in her first novel, two characters married at the end. That never happened, thought the author. Except that she later opened the book and found that it had. The author had travelled the path from living with a story and fretting over every major narrative point to forgetting it to such an extent that she was as surprised as any reader by that twist. Throwing the phenomenon out to fellow authors on Twitter returned a lot of exclamatory replies of recognition. A stand-out was from the children's author and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, who recalled how she “once didn't recognise my own opening line when it was read out at an award ceremony. I was the eejit looking around wondering whose book that was.” It seems counterintuitive that a writer could forget their own story, given that they might have spent years with it, conjuring up every detail, writing many drafts, reading it through several edits until they are, frankly, glad to be rid of it. After that they'll be expected to talk to the media and to readers about the book, answering questions both general and precise. They'll be quizzed about preceding books, too, constantly reminded of all they've done so far. READ MORE Ireland's best restaurant tables and how you can reserve one Jamie Dornan: ‘I've loved finding comfort in playing psychopaths. I'm trying to find comfort in good people and bad people' They call me Dr Chaos on occasion. I'm quite at home in a waiting room when people are acting out But a confusion can come almost immediately thanks to layers of writing and editing that mean a writer mightn't always be sure what made […]
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