jennygordon: (Hermit)
I'm the kind of reader who likes an author to leave loose threads at the end of a novel. You know, the ones that allow you to continue the story in your own head beyond the final page. I don't like things to be too neatly tied up, because life just ain't like that. However, there are loose threads, and there are loose threads, and feedback from one of my wonderful beta readers on the latest version of SeaNovel has helped me to see that sometimes, loose is simply too loose.

It's a tricky balancing act to tie things up neatly so the reader is satisfied, yet to leave a few threads dangling, either anticipating a sequel, or so that the reader can continue the story in their own imagination. The end of SeaNovel has been clear in my mind almost from the outset — the crucial image of the climax, along with the closing image were so clear to me that I always knew what I was working towards, despite the widely differing versions the book has gone through over the past couple of years.

However, when my lovely reader got back to me with some issues over that ending, my reaction was a meditative hmmmm ... as though part of me has known all along that the end was lacking ... Well, lacking oomph. It certainly had some oomph, but my lovely reader helped me to see that it could have so much more. And there's one particular thread that needs tying up and snipping off neatly in order to achieve it.

Now, one of my big problems following the previous round of feedback was that I was in danger of losing my authorial voice along the way of trying to incorporate everyone's fabulous suggestions for the book. This time it's different. This time, I can clearly see a way of fixing the ending that incorporates some of the lovely reader's suggestions, while at the same time remaining true to my vision of SeaNovel. Even better, it's got me thinking in different ways about other aspects of the story, and how I might polish those too.

I guess the moral of this story is the importance of flexibility in our writing. It's dangerous to develop tunnel vision over it, because you never know when a better version might reveal itself, or indeed be revealed to you.

That, and the fact that savvy, generous readers are worth their weight in chocolate!
jennygordon: (Blue Butterfly)
It's been a couple of weeks since I completed SeaNovel, and I've very deliberately been resting my writing brain. Not entirely, of course — never entirely — but it's been important for me to decompress. To allow myself to depart properly from the world I've inhabited for the past 2 years. To give my brain an airing, and a dust in the corners, ready to fill it to the brim with a delicious new world. So, what have I been up to instead of writing? Well, I've ...

  • worked on my synopsis and query letter for SeaNovel
  • updated my agent research ready for my first round of submissions (gotta love an EXCEL spreadsheet!)
  • pondered feedback on this version from my readers, ready for a final polish before submitting begins
  • joined Goodreads
  • read lots, including discovering two of the most wonderful books I've read in a long while ('The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern, and 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey)
  • created a moodboard of inspirational images for ShadowNovel (my next project). That got me so excited about it I had to ...
  • ... start writing some preparatory notes.

And you know what? My enthusiasm for ShadowNovel is bubbling so hard now that I sense it's almost ready to begin overflowing onto the page. Just a little while longer, then a pinch or two more seasoning and a good stir, and I'll take a peek and find out what's been cooking.

Yum!

jennygordon: (Magpie)

Since a couple of people (not LJ people) have asked how I tackled my latest round of revisions, I thought I'd post something here about it too, on the off-chance that some of you share my addiction to reading about other writers' processes.

So, the last pass I carried out on SeaNovel followed a massive re-write, which meant that some of the resulting version of the novel was effectively in first draft. Once it was done, I printed the whole thing out and read it through, marking the ms up in my trusty pink pen. And, believe me, there was pink pen everywhere! Then I had a mini meltdown when I realised just how much I still needed to tackle, ate some chocolate and listed all the things I needed to work on. The list was in three main sections:


  • Technical, which highlighted my bad writing habits such as words I use too much, weedy words I'm guilty of using, and so on.

  • Quick Fixes, which was a long list of issues I could address relatively easily, such as consistency matters, and changing a description of a drainpipe from iron to clay.

  • Thinking Fixes, which were wider issues I needed to mull over and figure out, as well as changes I wanted to make that had a wider impact than simply on one line or section. This was sub-divided into two futher sections where there were several issues I wanted to figure out, related to specific matters.

To give you some idea of everything I wanted to tackle, the list ended up being two-and-a-half, 10pt font, single-spaced pages long.

Then it was simply a matter of opening up a fresh version of the document and working through the ms and the list in tandem .... well, not exactly ....

See, once I'd crossed off one item, it often had a knock-on effect on others. Some acquired an enhanced importance, some changed, and some became null and void. As I progressed, other issues emerged, resulting from the changes, while others altered their focus. Once everything on my list had been crossed off, I read the whole thing through again and made a billion other little tweaks and polishings. Things like:


  • cutting unnecessary words and pieces of description

  • adding a few more words and pieces of description

  • fiddling with punctuation so it helped me express what I wanted to express in the way I wanted to express it

  • switching paragraphs or sentences around so they flowed better and created the required effect

  • changing occasional words to fit the world and the mood I wanted to create better.

Then, when I finally reached 'The End', I went to lie down with a bar of chocolate!

What about you? Does any of this resemble any of your revision passes?

jennygordon: (Star Gazer Lily)
*Oscar Wilde

So, as of Thursday last week, SeaNovel is done. And it really feels done this time. For better or for worse, it's as good as I can make it at this point in my writing career.

Oddly, while I've been itching to get on with my next project for almost a year, I find myself strangely empty of writerly impetus at the moment. Not in a bad way. It's more of restorative thing, so I'm happily going with it, and am enjoying the time to read and pootle** without the constant 'must write, must write,' mantra rattling around my brain.

Synopses and query letters will follow in due course, then it's off to the agents I must go.

For now, however, here are some SeaNovel statistics that I found interesting (though likely no-one else will). Curious that the novel has remained more or less the same length between the various versions, even given that Version 9a is significantly different from Version 8. I'm pleased that my final pass, in which I tightened, weeded, polished and primped the text, I've managed to lose almost 4,000 words. It makes it feel like did a thorough job.

Version 7 (the first complete version of SeaNovel - which was in first person) - 92,852 words
Version 8 (the version of SeaNovel that went out to my beta readers, and was in third person) - 90,568 words
Version 9a (the significantly re-written version, following reader feedback) - 91,354 words
Version 9b - (the tidied version) - 87,668 words

**I'm a world-class pootler!
jennygordon: (Star Gazer Lily)
So, finished the latest pass of SeaNovel yesterday - huzzah! I'm pretty chuffed, as it means I've completed this pass in just two 4-day stretches. It's the kind of intensive, focussed approach that's always most constructive for me when I'm dealing with a general revision.

This pass has been a read-through and revision of the entire manuscript, on paper, of the Grand Rewrite I've been working on for the past six months. (Detail I'm sure is rather dull for anyone else to read, but which is useful for me to record for myself).

All I have to do now is type up all the changes. Which might take me a while ... There's a lot of pink pen all over the pages ...

For now, I'm basking in a satisfied glow. It's done, and it feels so much tighter and so much better. I even shed a tear or two in the appropriate places. My biggest concern was that this rewritten version of the novel wouldn't work, but it does ... I think it does ... I think ...

In any case, for now, it's all I can do.

Now, where did I put that chocolate?
jennygordon: (Water Lily)
During the course of writing SeaNovel (and while working on this current revision pass), one of the lessons I've learned is that simplicity really is best when it comes to everything from character motivation to plotting. I don't mean simple as in "basic"; I mean it as in "uncluttered". Achieving that is a constant challenge for me as a writer.

As a reader, I relish multi-layered, complicated characters, and complex, interwoven plots. I love the juiciness of them, and the satisfaction of peeling back the layers of understanding. Yet one of my failings as a writer is in over-thinking and over-complicating what doesn't need to be.

In SeaNovel, for instance, I've spend many hours and many words working up my main characters' motivations, and plot causality (i.e. why what happens, happens). I've been to and fro, creating layer after layer of intricacy and depth and explanation, when in fact, the core of the matters are simple. It's just taken me all these words and hours to realise it.

One of the skills a writer with serious ambitions of publication must learn is to summarise our opus in a concise sentence or two. And it really is a skill, not to mention being a useful trick to employ even at the early stages of a novel's conception. Even the complicated plot of a door-stopping epic should be possible to summarise in one breath. Ask yourself: What is this book about?

It's about love and a man's quest for redeption.

It's an exploration of the effects of internicine warfare on disparate nations.

It's about what happens when magic returns to a cynical world.

The thing I've realised during this current pass of SeaNovel (which is about none of those things, in case you were wondering) is that the roots of character motivation and the core of my plot lie in the simplest of things. Having realised this, so many aspects I've been wrangling with have come into focus. And so far (at the half-way stage of this revision), the novel is finally feeling like it's found itself.
jennygordon: (Peacock Butterfly)
Funny thing, "finished". As I reported yesterday, I'm gearing up for the next pass on the newly completed ms of SeaNovel. Last night after work, I started organising my notes in readiness for the weekend's plunge, and one thing led to another. It turns out I have rather more to address than I initially thought.

Since the draft I've just completed has involved rewriting large sections of the book — developing new plot threads and evolving characters — significant chunks of it are now effectively in first draft again, which means there's still work to do.

The notes I've been working on don't involve any further major rewriting; they're primarily concerned with ways in which I can develop and point up the plot, themes and characters as they now stand, strengthening the groundwork I laid in the pass I've just completed.

I mentioned this to one of my beta readers, who commented that knowing when a book (or any creative project) is finished must be akin to knowing how long a piece of string is. The way I see it is this: There will be a point when SeaNovel is finished, and that will be the point at which I know I can't do anything more to make it better. It's my job is to make the ms as good as I possibly can. To call it "finished" at any point before then would be doing it and myself an injustice.

The thing is, you can plan as much as you like in advance, but some things will only become clear once the journey is over. At that point, you can choose either to haul off your hiking boots and toss them away in the cupboard, or you can give them a good waxing, put on a fresh pair of socks and head out all over again. The journey will be easier this time because you're familiar with the terrain. The map clutched in your hand is clearer. And somewhere on the other side of those hills, there's a hammock strung up between two trees, ready and waiting for when the journey really is over and done. When "finished" really is.
jennygordon: (Tortoiseshell Butterfly (purple))
So, yesterday, I finished the current pass of SeaNovel (yay!)

This means I've now completed the major rewrite I've been working on since the New Year (yay again!) I've actually reached the end quicker than I anticipated. Well, I say "The "End", and it's not exactly that, because now I have to:


  • print out the manuscript and read it all through to see whether the story as it now stands, well, works (gulp!)
  • in the process of reading through, I need to work in all those little things that have only emerged as I worked on the latter stages of this version. Things like seeding plot clues, enhancing pertinent aspects of character and setting, and ironing out irrelevancies.
  • I also need to continue weeding out weedy words, and
  • eliminate passive phrasing, and
  • check grammar, spelling, etc, and
  • well, the rest kind of depends whether I decide the rewritten version of the story works or not. If it doesn't, I may cry. If it does, then it's on to writing query letter and synopsis, and deciding which of my shortlist of agents I'm going to query first ... um ... GULP!!

Roll on this weekend so I can get started.

jennygordon: (Angel)
Funny thing, after eighteen months working on SeaNovel in its multitude of guises and versions, in some ways I feel I’m only just getting to know it. The revision process for this book has been a revelation for so many reasons. Even at this point, where I really can see the end on the horizon, aspects of characters, plot and detail are still coming into view for the first time. Granted, most of them have grown out of seeds that already exist, but it’s only now that I’m really getting them. It means doing another pass to tuck in the little plot clues, to enhance aspects of character and polish theme and setting, but that’s okay. It’s all working to make SeaNovel truer to the secret kernel of story held safe in my heart.

I’ve reached a plateau of calm in how I’m feeling about the revision process. I’ve moved beyond the frustration that’s been dogging me in recent months, not to mention the disheartenment and the fretting that the task is bigger than me.

(It’s not, I know that).

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself cycling through the same writing routine: before sitting down to work, I grouch about all I have to do, and about the fact that I’m still having to do it, but once I’m actually working, I lose myself in the words and what I’m trying to achieve with them. At the end of the sessions when I know I’ve done good work, I’m in love all over again with the book. And even when it hasn’t gone so well, I tell myself that at least the ms is better than it was when I sat down. And if it isn’t better yet, then I’ve gone some way toward figuring out how to make it better next time. If nothing else, I know I’m understanding SeaNovel on a deeper level.

ShadowNovel continues to whisper deliciously at the back of my mind, but it’s not ready to emerge yet. So I’m content for it to continue to be its mysterious, intriguing, whispering self for now, excited though I am to turn my attention to it someday soon.

And that day will come, I know it will.

There’s an odd kind of peace in this acceptance, both that ShadowNovel will emerge in its own time, and that SeaNovel will be done when it’s done. After all, what’s the hurry? The only pressure is that I put on myself, and pressure isn’t good. A relaxed mind is a creative mind, so someone clever said once said.

Seedlings

May. 29th, 2013 10:16 am
jennygordon: (Blue Butterfly)
I think it was that wise lady, [livejournal.com profile] writerjennwho said that the seeds of a novel's ending often lie in its beginning.

It's true.

In reworking SeaNovel, I've realised that something one of my characters says in Chapter Two (something she's said since the novel's earliest incarnation) contains the key to one of the plot strands that have emerged in the current version.

It's as though my subconscious knew all along which direction the book was meant to take. I wonder why it's taken my conscious brain so long to recognise it.
jennygordon: (Skywatcher)
Bluebell Wood


They say that bluebell woods are beloved of faerie-folk, which is why it's so dangerous to walk in them.

What is also dangerous is giving in to despair in our creative lives. Better to remind ourselves:

"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke." — Arthur Plotnik, The Elements of Editing
jennygordon: (Clematis)
So, I return from my writerly absence of the past week, blinking in the light, a smile curving my lips. Why? Because, by mid-week, I had completed Act Three of the SeaNovel rewrites, bringing me to the shores of the final act, and within 15K words of the end.

And there I paused, looking this way and that, but unable to find the path that would lead me to the end.

I know what the end is; I've known from the first what the climactic scene would be, but the events leading up to it, as written in previous versions of the manuscript, have never felt quite right.

Despairing that I would ever find the path, I sat down on a rock and distracted myself with other things for a few days, allowing my sub-conscious to get to work on the problem in my absence.

And when I looked up again, notebook, post-its and pens in hand, the path was clear.

Turns out I needed to discover several keys in order to unlock the solution, and once those became clear, the pieces started to fall into place. The key which intrigues me the most is that concerning my main character, "L".

See, L is a loner, and in all previous versions of SeaNovel, she had felt it her responsibility to struggle alone with saving the day. Now, however, L has discovered what her true strength is — other people. Specifically the friends and 'family' around her whom she loves and who love her in turn. In a storm-surge of epiphany, she has realised that she doesn't have to deal with everything on her own. What she needs to do is ask for help from her loved ones; to open up to them and trust them to believe her and believe in her.

My Wild Girl has grown up.
jennygordon: (Hermit)
And speaking of silence and solitude, as I was the other day, I'm checking out of the world for a while. I have a much-needed week off work, and I hope to spend a goodly slice of it with SeaNovel, and with some of the books in my 'To Be Read' pile. No commuting to work, no busy, noisy office, just me and my words.

Bliss!

See you all anon.

Happy writing!
jennygordon: (Skywatcher)
Just a brief post from me this time; I've been having some problems with one of my wrists, so I'm trying to keep keyboard use to a minimum.

So, last weekend, I managed my second stretch along the path of reclaiming SeaNovel — which is to say, reworking the first 50K words into a form which aligns with my vision of the story. I'm delighted to say that I've now completed reworking those 50K words. Along the way, I've cut 4K words of story that didn't belong and reshaped the rest. And I'm much MUCH happier with it.

Hurrah!

Now I'm back at the point where I fizzled back at the beginning of April, so I spent this weekend brainstorming my way forward from this point.

I have a map.

As ever, I won't know for sure whether it's the right map until I'm immersed in the writing.

Still, it's a map, and when I glance over my shoulder at the newly-laid paving of the road behind me, it's with a certain satisfaction.
jennygordon: (Clematis)
As you may have noticed from my recent moaning and wailing and general air of gloom, I've been stuck in the writerly doldrums for the past week or so.

Well, no longer!

I'm delighted to report that, aided by the support, kindness and wise words of my lovely LJ friends, "real world" friends, and a few strangers to boot, the wind has filled my sails anew and I've sailed out of those rotten  doldrums.

Hurrah!

It's one thing knowing the only way is onward, but sometimes it's another entirely putting that into play. The key for me this time has been everything from a conversation with [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep about phases of the moon, to thinking about creative play. (Actually, it turns out the two are connected).

Along the way, I even learned a wonderful new word, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep:

Hwyl, which is a Welsh word pronounced "hoil" if you're from South Wales, or "hoo-il" if you're from North Wales. It means "the spark within,", or, as [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep elaborates, using a quote from 1909:

"Will was certainly an eloquent preacher, if not a born orator, and possessed that peculiar gift known in Wales as “hwyl” — a sudden ecstatic inspiration, which carries the speaker away on its wings, supplying him with burning words of eloquence, which in his calmer and normal state he could never have chosen for himself."

Wonderful, isn't it? I've adopted the word into my vocabulary forthwith (well, I am an eighth Welsh!)

So what have I done to aid the return of my hwyl?

Well, on Saturday I created a moodboard of touchstone images that conjure the feel of SeaNovel. But not only that; for the first time in I don't know how long, I had an urge to draw, so I sketched my wild girl, L, who is my main character, and added her to the board:

My Wild Girl

It was such fun putting the moodboard together, and as I cut and sketched and glued, waves of excitement for SeaNovel filled me.

So on Sunday, I gathered up the printout of the first half of the MS, complete with multitudinous annotations and amendments, and started transposing them into a new electronic version, continuing to rework, polish and tighten as I went.

Sometime next week, I hope to have completed the transcription and be ready to forge ahead with reworking the rest of the novel with the new version fresh and alive in my mind.

I'm filled with renewed enthusiasm for and love of SeaNovel, and want to thank everyone who has offered support, empathy and wisdom.

Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is so much easier when you have friends to help you heave!
jennygordon: (Gargoyle)
Yep, that's right; last Wednesday, I was loitering at the rim of the Great Big Pit of Writerly Despair.

I confess, by the end of the day I was feeling low enough about SeaNovel to be considering chucking in the towel. See, at the half-way point of this revision pass, I had written myself into a tangle and couldn't see a way out of it. To cap it all, I came home from work with a horrible headache, which only made everything look a hundred times bleaker.

Once I got home, however, bloodymindedness kicked in. I took painkillers and meditated and in an attempt to ignore the pain, thought about SeaNovel and what the hell I was going to do with it.

Turns out that between us in a conversation on my last post, [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep and I had already discovered with the answer.

"The main problem is my malfunctioning brain!" I wrote. "I was foolish enough to check my older notes yesterday, and realised I've forgotten about certain things I wanted to include in this pass. It's feeling like one step forward, twenty back at the moment! Honestly, the further I come along this writing path, the more there seems to be to tackle!"

To which Carol ([livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep) replied: "Don't assume everything extra you planned on including needs to go in. Make a list - reduce 'items' to one-liners."

Reassess, essentially, which was precisely the conclusion I had come to the myself previous day, right when I had to stop writing and get ready to go to work at my paid job (phoey!)

See, what I realised was, my beta readers had all come up with such varied and wonderful ideas that I was trying to embrace too many of them, and in doing so, lost sight of the fact that it's MY story. What I needed to do was reassess all those wonderful suggestions in the light of what I feel is the core of my story, then sideline the ones that don't contribute to that core, and focus on the ones that do.

So, over the Easter break, I've re-read almost all 56K words of this draft to date, marked up a paper copy of the ms accordingly (in pink pen, which is vitally important to the process). I have a few pages remaining, which I'm hoping to tackle today. Then all I need to do is get to work on an amended version, incorporating all of those changes (and there are lots - mostly minor, but some biggies too). See, easy!!!! Ha ha!

Frustrating?

Hell yeah!

But it's also the right thing to do. Plus, it's given me the will to drag myself back from the rim of The Pit!

What I really must do is say, *kiss kiss* and thank you, Carol! Your timely nudge set me on the path to embracing the solution.

Right, back to it!
jennygordon: (Water Lily)
I recently commented to [livejournal.com profile] writerjennthat it’s easy to become so engrossed in the plot of your WIP that you lose sight of your characters’ inner journey.  During this pass of SeaNovel, I’m increasingly aware that it’s my characters’ inner journeys that are my primary concern. It’s what is driving most of my decisions as I reshape the story. At each turn, I’m pausing to assess the state of the emotional weather in all of my characters, particularly my two main ones.

·         What are they feeling at this point?

·         What impact has the events of the last scene or chapter had on them?

·         What do they want, and how has that changed?

Inevitably, the more I work on SeaNovel, the better I get to know my characters. I understand L’s fear of abandonment and why this and her essential introvert nature leads her to behave the way she does. I can feel how torn M is, and how he struggles with himself to find the right path. My more minor characters have also come into sharper focus, and I’m mindful of keeping track of their inner weather too, because each of them also has a journey to go on during the course of the novel. It might not be crucial to the story, but it’s equally as important to the book if I want them to come across as thinking, feeling individuals.

I often don’t know — not completely — how a character is feeling until I’m standing in their boots, seeing through their eyes. I trust my deeper self to know my characters in ways I don’t consciously realise, because it’s that deeper instinct which sometimes provides the key to the next thing they do, or the next words they say.

It can be tricky to keep your writerly eye on all aspects of story and character, but it’s fundamentally true that story doesn’t move forward without the characters acting and reacting to events. And characters won’t move forward in honest ways unless those events impact on their inner development. If we do our work in a way that honours both our characters and the story, then by the end of the book, all of them should have undertaken a journey and changed in some way.
jennygordon: (Star Gazer Lily)
Well, that's been a mixed bag of writing days!

At the halfway point of SeaNovel, I'm now facing a hefty chunk of story that needs to be entirely reworked. To date, it's been a new scene here and there, but now it's entirely new chapters I need to write, along with reimagining some of those that are staying as they are, and reordering the scenes in others.

Things began well at the weekend. I tentatively set the goal of reworking two chapters — lighter touch reworking these — and achieved the goal ahead of time. Woo hoo, right? Except that meant I was now facing writing a brand new, emotionally intense chapter from scratch. And facing it with not a little trepidation!

I took the first run at it yesterday. For HOURS, I wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted ... sighed .... deleted ... You get the picture.

By the time I had to call it quits for the day, I had written the thing in its entirely, but I'm far from happy with it. As much as I fiddled with the words and scratched my head, I simply couldn't put my finger on what wasn't hitting the right note. It's SO frustrating. I've come away from it all a-fidget and a-twitch, irritated with myself, and irritated with the stupid damn book. Will I never be done with it?!

I have to remind myself that I haven't been this frustrated over if for ... I don't know how long. Since I was working on a much earlier draft, probably.

It's par for the course. It'll pass.

I'm hoping that by the time I can return to SeaNovel, what I need to do to fix the chapter will be clearer. And once it is, you know what I'll be tackling next? Yep, that's right ... another entirely new chapter.

That gale you just rattling your roof tiles was me sighing!
jennygordon: (Tortoiseshell Butterfly (purple))
Here! Here I am!

I've spent the last 10 days squirrelled away in the Cave de la Revision with SeaNovel, hence my absence. Except it hasn't felt like a cave; it's been more like a grand free-wheeling adventure.

Rather than bore you all with the details, here's a summary of what I've been up to:

  • typed up nearly 17K words from longhand, AND ...

  • typed straight onto computer an additional 14.5K words, which takes my revisions to the half-way point of the novel. I'm thrilled. Having made fairly slow progress with the revisions so far this year, I set myself an ambitious 'wish' goal at the beginning of the week, and to actually have achieved it is wonderful, especially since the wordcount includes some entirely new scenes as well as substantial reworkings. Much brain squeezing has taken place!

  • along the way, I reaffirmed that no matter how much planning and thinking I do in advance of writing, some things only find their true direction once I'm actually doing the writing. Which is great, because it helps keep the work fresh for me.

  • But writing wasn't the only thing I did with my week off work. I also met a brand new little person called Marnie, who is 5 weeks old and completely gorgeous. Now, I'm not generally a 'babies' kind of girl, so for me to find one gorgeous is really saying something! Her dad is half-Italian, and she has the most amazing head of soft, black hair, and long eyelashes.

  • And as a treat for achieving so much, I bought myself Jacqueline Carey's 'Naamah' trilogy. Carey's an old favourite of mine (you may recall I waxed lyrical about her here). On impulse, having not read them for a number of years, I picked up the first in her second Terre d'Ange trilogy, and found myself so immersed it was hard to dig myself out of it to do anything else. Don't you love it when that happens? I have previously borrowed a couple of the 'Naamah' trilogy from a friend, so decided it was high time I owned my own copies. You should have seen the size of the Amazon package the postman delivered!

  • Oh, and finally, I ate lots of chocolate. Cadbury's chocolate mini eggs courtesy of my husband, and a box of AMAZING Thornton's chocolates, courtesy of me!

So, that's me. I'll be catching up with your LJ news over the next few days, but I'd love to hear what you've been up to in the meantime. How's the writing and/or other creative endeavours going? Read any good books? Eaten any chocolate, or other deliciousness?

jennygordon: (Star Gazer Lily)
"When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking our all the things that are not the story." Stephen King, 'On Writing'

Which pretty much sums up the current state of play with my writing. I finally feel like I'm making tangible progress with the rewriting of SeaNovel. I spent a focussed run of days with it at the end of last week, beginning of this. I set myself a 'hopeful' goal - it has to be 'hopeful', because I never know what life may decide to throw at me in the meantime - and I actually achieved it, so I'm thrilled.

I'm also completely in love with my post-it planning system (you know, the one where I've written a scene per post-it, then stuck them all in order on a piece of chipboard so I can see the whole book in one place). It came into play again at the weekend when I realised that I had mis-stepped in my planning. Funny thing is, no matter how much planning I do in advance, I ALWAYS find that it's only when I'm actually writing the thing that I realise what I've planned won't work. Either the characters wouldn't behave in certain way at that point, or the pacing is on the wonk, or what I have planned upsets the emotional arc.

So, back to the post-its I went, jiggled things around, smooshed a couple of scenes into one, and hey presto, Bob's your male relative, everything's on track again! Marvellous. *Kiss kiss* post-it board.

I'm finding that, even this far down the line with SeaNovel, the shape of the story is still changing as I'm discovering better ways to approach it. In some ways, it's as though I'm still discovering the story, and it's exciting me all over again. I'm thinking about it all the time (even when I probably shouldn't be!) I've resurrected scenes buried in older versions of the book, I'm writing lots of brand new scenes.

Oh yes, and I've come up with a new title.

Here on LJ, the novel bears the pseudonym of 'SeaNovel'. In reality, it's had a proper title from the outset. Well, if I'm honest, it's had several proper ttles as I couldn't make one stick. Honestly, titles don't normally give me this much trouble! Even once I thought I had the thing pinned down, it didn't quite feel right - like a pair of socks that has shrunk in the wash (as have the pair I'm wearing today), it pinched and fidgeted. Then, from out of the purple (it's purple, not blue in JennyLand), yet another new title came wanging at me and smacked me around the head.

And it's better. Much better. This one fits in ways the previous ones never quite did.

If only these damned socks would do the same ...

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jennygordon

January 2016

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