Re-visiting that abandoned manuscript

When Covid-19 hit, I was halfway through a first draft.

It was a novel set in the 1990s and I was writing it to celebrate a decade I was young enough to fully enjoy. I still have the outline but, at the time of writing this blog (28/10/2020), haven’t looked at it since March.

This is what excites me. I’m looking forward to re-imagining this book, starting with the outline, once I complete the second draft of another manuscript I went back to once Covid restrictions lifted.

Photo Credit – Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Thinking about this now, I probably went back to the other manuscript because it’s a dystopian tale. Perfect for the mood the coronavirus left us in.

There might be nothing wrong with the outline.

But in the time that’s passed, I heard a friend’s amusing anecdote of a party night in that decade that I have to incorporate. I revisited the first two episodes of the original Queer As Folk and realised this manuscript has to capture the spirit of that show. I’ve thought about revamping one of the characters to be bitchier (thus, more intriguing). And I’ve considered doing some serious research of gay dance parties of that era to help me dig deep into my own memories.

The Lemonheads on Parade (1 Mar 1997) – Photo by C. Moore Hardy

Even when I was initially writing it, I felt it didn’t capture the spirit of Sydney’s long-lost Oxford Street scene. I thought as long as I got the first draft finished, I could guide it to have the right ‘feel’ in later drafts.

But since then, I’ve learnt how to develop a better manuscript earlier in the process.

I need to talk to the friends that experienced the party scene with me and my partner, and jog their memories for stories I can use. Crazy anecdotes will make this novel work.

1995 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Poster (1995) by Pierre et Gilles (right)
Sleaze Ball Poster 1996 (5 Oct 1996) by Richard Hughes (left)

And even though I’m writing this blog before I return to it, I’m already excited. It will mean a slightly different approach to the way I write novels, but this is how I will expand my writing skills.


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