I am in limbo at the moment, struggling manfully with a novel I refuse to give up on (Stella Gibbons, The Bachelor) but with which I can make very limited progress. This was a spur of the moment, I must have something to read purchase, done in a spirit of optimism and refusal to acknowledge the evidence of Starlight and its predecessors. I have been here before – some novels almost refuse to be read, characters blur together into an amorphous mass of old ladies and “incidents” either flatly refuse to happen, or simply fail to raise any interest in the reader. text just slides off the eyes like unwanted homework.

I call this the “meh” school of literature.

If there has been one thing that has deterred me from ever trying to write fiction myself it is the fear that what I produce would be not bad, but boring. I don’t under-estimate for one second the difficulty of writing a good novel, one with interesting characters and plot development, that entertains with incident, characterisation or humour, that has something original to say. The fact that the novels I have written about her in previous months ever got published let alone bought, read and enjoyed is a triumph.

But I will finish this novel, which bluntly has none of these things, to make the investment of however many hours of my life it is not completely pointless, and then take a cold look at my reading list selection from this point on.

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