Friday 25 November 2016

Now for the hard work...

This week, after putting the finishing touches to Gingerbread & Cupcake (out December 1st!), I’ve returned to work on something that’s been set aside for several months.

It’s an idea that I’ve been playing around with for years. In fact, it’s been with me longer than almost any other project. The first notes I made for this book were written in 1995. Ironic actually, since it’s about the education of a witch and I would have been writing those notes right around the time that You-Know-Who was working on You-Know-What.

So last year I wrote a couple of pieces for the book in an idle, I’m-not-sure-where-this-is-going sort of a way. Then I spent a good deal of time thinking up a main character name. And then near the beginning of this year, I made a very detailed plan of the story, complete with an exhaustive character spreadsheet. And I started to write. For three and a half months most of my 500 words a day were dedicated to this book. I’d pick one of the scenes from my plan and I was off. And it was the best fun. I was never stuck for something to write and it was so easy to pick up the story from day to day. Sometimes, if the next scene seemed too harm, I’d skip it and come back to it, but on the whole, I just ploughed on through my spreadsheet plan until I got to the end.

So you’d think, wouldn’t you, that when I came to read it this week, four months after writing the last scene, I’d find it something like complete. Certainly I expected too. It’ll need a little finessing, I thought. It’s not long enough, so there’ll be a few extra scenes to drop in here and there. The end will need work – the end always needs work.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find that’s not what it’s like. I’ve only once read over a first draft of mine and found that it needed nothing but ‘a little finessing’. And that’s not at all what this book needs. Oh no. It needs:

1. a clearer narrative line from beginning to end
2. a better developed relationship between the MC and her best friend
3. the rules of the world to be coherent
4. the thread leading to the next book to be established
5. an ending! Any ending!

What it needs is another three months of work. Which is fine and I should have expected it really.

Only, every now and then, you’d like a book that only needed a little finessing.

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