An amazingly peaceful morning in the company of grumpy Eliza, once John and his red diary (he hates the ideas of a smart one) had been sent away. No dates until after lunch. No disturbances… except for a cup of coffee perhaps?

Good to hear from you, Jan, but sad that you too suffer from the myth of constant availability, albeit in a different key. Whatever, it still disrupts the crucial flow of invention.

I was feeling chirpy, having cut a whole chapter. Now I mustn’t forget to renumber the rest, and Eliza’s journal is 9, not 10 – hurrah! I’ve also changed tactics, discarding half of one of my resolutions, the one to revise daily from the beginning, and at the same time start disentangling the middle chapters 29 to 36. Instead I’m revising the early chapters each day as I slowly advance. Back to retweak Chapter 1 this morning. I’ll have to stop tweaking some time, but… Progress is slow, but it’s progress.

I enjoyed time with Eliza. Readers will inevitably think she’s me, which is definitely not the case. I’m nobody in this book, except that I’m writing everyone. And that reminds me of the hand of doom – that of my editor. She says there are too many voices and I’ll have to throttle one of them and chuck him or her into the background, to be talked about instead of to talk.  That’s going to be hard. I feel at home with Eliza as if she’s cut, then the whole work goes down the drain.

Eliza, you’re saved, even if you weren’t in a good mood today!

Now to look at emails. I’m wondering whether to ask two friends, avid readers, to sample the crucial first three chapters. Why not?