Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Novel Progress - Did I say I'd FINISHED the first 3,000 words?

So, I edited the first 3,000 words and sent them off to Vanda for a critique.

All done and dusted, right?

Wrong!

Last night, while I was having a bath, I started to think about my novel (which in itself isn't unusual because I can't stop thinking about the damn thing) and I had a revelation! That scene that I'd been saving as a funny flashback for later in the book would be a perfect opener. It had a hook in the first few sentences, it inspired sympathy for the main character, generated tension, ended with a punchline (that was actually quite funny) and introduced another hook to keep the reader reading.

Now I could lie at this point and claim I jumped out of the bath, dripped suds all over the floor and soaked the laptop with my wet fingers as I hammered out the words (it would make for a more amusing blog entry after all). But I won't. I continued with my bath, whilst frantically repeating the new opening in my head so I wouldn't forget it and then, when I was all done and dry, I hammered out the words - all 800 of them.

I went to bed at about 2am and mused some more and some more and some more. And then I got up, emailed Vanda and told her not to critique the 3,000 words I'd sent her because I'd come up with a new beginning and I'd rather she look at that (she emailed me later saying that was fine).

I got up at 6am, edited the new beginning, printed off the first 3,000 words, stuck them in an envelope, posted them before I had chance to change my mind again and just managed to catch my train to work before the doors shut.

Am now exhausted but I have a much better beginning and I'm happier with it. The only trouble is... well...the subject matter may put some people off. I'm not saying much more than that just yet. Let's see what Vanda thinks*

*And if she thinks no I'll go back to the original opening sentence.

4 comments:

Quillers said...

Eureka! Well done for going with your instinct though, Cally. And well done for knocking out those 3000 words so quickly!

Something I've learned about short story writing is that it's sometimes a good idea to write it, then delete the first paragraph, as it's only after the first para that the story really begins. Maybe it's the same with novel chapters.

Cally said...

Actually I decided I'd done the opposite. I'd started too late and the novel needed a scene BEFORE the one I started with!

But I know what you mean - when you start writing something new you're getting into your stride. As a result the tone/voice isn't quite right, you might not be fully connecting with your characters (and therefore not portraying them particularly well) and you're probably not writing your best stuff.

What my opening was missing was some 'zing' (which seems to be a common element in most chick-lit) and I think I've found it now. At least I hope so!

Quillers said...

Ah, that's interesting. But it still shows I think that you don't really know where your story is supposed to start until you've written some of it.

Good luck with it, Cally! I'd love to see your name on that winners' list.

Quillers said...

Oops, I'd responded then realised you added some more... We seem to agree :-)