Monday, 9 February 2015
How's the Novel Going?
Okay, okay, I can't dodge the question any longer.
What question? I hear you ask.
The one referring to the thing that starts with N and ends with L.
I blame Tracy Fells of course. To be honest, I thought I'd got away with it as we had been sitting in the cafe talking for nearly two hours about the usual writerly things and she hadn't brought the subject up. Then just as we were about to pay for our teacakes (yes it's that time of the month again) and leave the café, she did.
"How's the novel going?"
At first I pretended not to have heard, but Tracy knows me too well and was not going to let me get away with it that easily. My target was to write at least 2,000 words of the novel a week, so the question she wanted to know was had I managed it?
"Well..." I said. "It's like this..."
Tracy cut in. "Don't tell me. You haven't had time because of your dancing, zumba, dog walking... oh, wait a minute that's it, Bonnie ate it!"
In actual fact my excuses for not having reached my target that month, and having only reached 12,000 words in total, were rather better than that and perfectly true: I'd had a serial to finish and a new collection of short stories to prepare for publication (watch out for it early March), I'd got stuck when I realised I hadn't planned the novel out properly and I'd changed the tense and viewpoint about ten times. You see, I'd been very busy!
The look on Tracy's face, though, told me all I needed to know - she was having none of it. I bowed my head. "I promise to do better next month Tracy."
"You'd better, or there will be no teacakes."
Now that is a threat (and one I think I've heard before) so this last week I've been setting aside more time for the novel. I wrote another chapter and managed to get a better idea in my head of where my characters were heading. I thought I was doing well then, out of the blue, I had a crisis of confidence - how could I be sure that what I had already written would have the makings of a readable novel?
The breakthrough came when someone gave me the following piece of advice (if I could remember who, I could thank them). They suggested I send what I had written to my kindle and read it as a reader would, rather than as a writer. That's what I did this morning and, because I haven't written a great deal, I was able to read it all the way through and the result was very exciting. I found I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. It was the push I needed.
At last I can believe that what I am writing has the potential to be a story that I will enjoy writing and that someone will hopefully enjoy reading ... and I can't wait to carry on!
In other news, I have a story in this week's People's Friend (out Wednesday) and The current People's Friend Special and Woman's Weekly Fiction Special.