jennygordon: (Clematis)
So, last time I shared some holiday snaps and showed you my outdoor holiday writing nook. Today, I thought I'd tell you a bit about how the writing went while I was away.

Well ... Glastonbury proved to be the inspirational haven I hoped it would, and I made all kinds of tentative, but definitely constructive, in-roads to ShadowNovel.

Most tangibly, I spent a blissful afternoon with scissors and glue and my collection of inspirational images, creating a scrapbook. The main point of this was so help immerse myself in the world of ShadowNovel, and as well as being huge fun, I really did lose myself in it and start to get a clearer sense of the place.

An added bonus was that the wonderful cottage I stayed in was supplied with a collection of CDs, among which I discovered three which proved absolutely perfect for conjuring the mood of the book. I got them on order as soon as I arrived home. They're by artists I haven't heard of before, and it felt incredibly serendipitous that they should be there at the cottage all ready and waiting for me.

Going away with only the pictures and a handful of notes proved immensely helpful, and I've returned home with an outline plan of how to approach the first section of ShadowNovel. Saying more than that feels like I might jinx it, so I'm going to be all mysterious about it instead, and say nothing more for now.

It's really, really early days, but my enthusiasm for ShadowNovel is fizzing, and it's all feeling a little less intimidating that it did before I went away.

Yesterday, I even threw down 1,000 words of story. It's not the first 1,000 words of the book, although it is the first 1,000 words of one viewpoint character. It felt like the right time for me to start exploring, so into the forest I went, sturdy books laced tight and pith helmet firmly clamped to my head (because every explorer needs one of those, right?)

I'd forgotten how much I love this early, exploratory part of a new project. Everything is fresh and bright and so thrillingly full of possibility. There are so many new things to see and try that I hardly know where to begin. But begin I have, and it feels mighty fine.
jennygordon: (Hermit)
In response to my last post, [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweepsaid, "I'm tempted to ask what would be so wrong about working with what went before? ShadowNovel must still feel good enough otherwise you wouldn't be revisiting it. Because you are revisiting an old story, it sounds as if you may perhaps be reshaping as much as re-imagining."

She's not the only person to ask, so I thought I'd say a little bit about my approach to my new project here (for those of you who might be interested in that sort of thing).

ShadowNovel certainly does still feel good enough for me to want to revisit it, or at least the core of it does. However, the project will very much be a "reimagining", as opposed to a "reshaping" (although you could argue that we're debating semantics here!) for a number of reasons:

1. the original novel was written for an adult audience, and includes some ... er-hem ... rather adult themes and scenes. The reimagining will be for a YA audience, which means thinking about it in a different way, and reworking it appropriately.

2. the original was a mighty 207K words long, and since I want to reimagine it for a YA audience, I'll be aiming for 120K tops, which means rethinking some of the story elements.

3. I completed the original something like eight years ago, and in the intervening time, I've lived some, and I've acquired shinier writing tools, which means I want to step back from the original and approach it a-fresh.

4. But moreover, last summer, I played around with the original text to see how a reshaping might work, and frankly, it felt like cheating. Like a half-measure. And ShadowNovel deserves better than that.

All of which means I'll be doing a lot of thinking about:

  • which story elements should stay in a YA novel of 120K words
  • how to tighten those story elements
  • which new story elements I need to work up
  • how the character arcs might work more effectively
  • how to make the world more cohesive, bearing in mind the shorter w/c

To that end, I've put away the original novel and its many books of accompanying notes, as I've been feeling increasingly burdened by them. The important stuff from the original is in my head, and all the old notes just muddy the picture. As [livejournal.com profile] edgyauthorcomments in my last post, speaking from experience, "The old stuff can become too much of a crutch sometimes, and often not for the better."

It's a big challenge, for sure, and I'm pretty intimidated by it. It's about finding the YA novel within the adult one. The question I keep returning to is: What is the heart of this story? What do I need to focus on? Once I have that in my sights, everything else is negotiable.

So you see, that's why it's a "reimagining", not a "reshaping".

BTW, thanks for asking, [livejournal.com profile] readthisandweep, and thanks for reading my waffle all those of you who do. Thinking in writing like this helps to concrete things in my own mind, so it's immensely helpful.

jennygordon: (Water Lily)
I'm off on a little holiday next week (yay!). Top of my list of 'Things to Pack' are:





  • folder of inspirational images
  • new scrapbook (with lovely handmade paper pages)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • new notebook
  • handful of notes from old notebook
  • several pens

I guess you can tell what I'm hoping to spend some of my time doing ....

This is actually the first time I'll have worked on a writing project while away on holiday, so it'll be interesting to see whether I can be creative outside of my creative comfort zone at home. I'm deliberately not taking the reams of old notes on ShadowNovel, as I'm hoping not having those notes to hand will help with the reimagining of the story. There won't be the temptation to flick back and copy what went before, so I'll be able to focus on the new without distraction.

I'm also hoping that getting to work on creating my reference scrapbook will help immerse me in the world and the characters and open doors to the story. I confess I'm pretty intimidated at the moment by the task I've set myself in reimagining this pre-existing tale. I need to figure out how I'm going to approach it. I've never reworked an old novel before, and I already know it's going to require a different process from those I've used with others. But that's all part of the fun, right?

At the moment, I'm thinking something like one of [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch64's outlines might work (c.30K of telling the story to myself), or perhaps something like one of Kristin Cashore's Book Plans. I'm certainly feeling the need for something pretty comprehensive in the way of a plan. More comprehensive than what I usually work with. Of course, way back last summer, [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch64pointed out that I already have a story plan: the original version of the novel. Although that comes with the attendant temptation to work too closely to what went before, instead of reimagining it.

It's interesting to look back in my blog to the entries of last summer when I began thinking about reworking ShadowNovel and its sequel, DancingNovel, during time out between drafts of SeaNovel. I was pondering much the same difficulties in how the hell I'm going to approach the thing. I can't tell you how exciting it is that I'm now at the stage when I can focus a good chunk of my writing energies on this new project.

Can't wait!

jennygordon: (Skywatcher)
At the early stages of turning my attention to my new project, ShadowNovel, I've been taking time to daydream. Specifically, to daydream about the world of ShadowNovel. More specifically still, to dream into being the kind of world I want it to be, as opposed to the world it was in its original adult novel form.

See, that original adult novel was only the second book I wrote, and that was over a decade ago. As with many people's early novels (I would guess), it was crammed full of images, ideas and characters that had been in my head for many years. Some of them right back to my teenage years. The result was that the world created was more of a collection of parts than a single cohesive whole.

What I've been daydreaming encompasses the elements of the original world that truly belong, alongside a more coherent vision of the wider world. I have a clear idea of the "flavour" of the world I'm aiming for, but the specifics of what it looks like are far vaguer for much of it. In my quest, I've revisited the scrapbooks I made all those years ago and collected together the images that still resonate with the new vision. I've also been making use of the wonderful web resources that simply didn't exist when I was working on the original novel to put flesh on the bones of that vision.

It's still a work in progress, but I finally feel like the details are beginning to come into focus. I thought I'd share one of the images that has helped:

Dolbadarn Castle

JMW Turner, Dolbadarn Castle
jennygordon: (Magpie)
"Right before you are planning to write, a good preparation is to become an animal. Move slowly, stalking your prey, which is whatever you plan to write about, no matter what else you might be doing at the moment — taking out the garbage, walking to the library, watering the garden. Get all your senses intent." Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

This is very much what I feel I'm doing with ShadowNovel at the moment. The whole time I'm working on tying up the threads of SeaNovel, ready to snip them off and end that journey, part of my brain is stalking ShadowNovel.

As most of you probably recall, ShadowNovel is my old/new next project. Old/new because it already exists as an adult novel I wrote around a decade ago. It was my second novel at the time, and I learned a lot while I was working on it, not least of which was what not to do! When I set that novel and its sequel aside and moved on to writing other things,I never intended to return to it. But when I re-read it last year, I realised I'm actually not done with it yet. What I could see when I revisited it was that the story has potential to be reshaped and reimagined as a Young Adult novel. And I fell in love with it all over again.

So, that's my next project, codename "ShadowNovel". Which makes it all sound so terribly easy and straightforward, doesn't it?

Ha! It's far from being that!

For a start, the adult novel as it stood when I set it aside was complete at 207K words — a hefty tome even in adult fantasy novel terms. And then there's the fact that it is currently an adult novel — very adult in places!

Last year, while SeaNovel was resting between drafts, I played around with ShadowNovel and started rewriting it using the existing text as a basis. But what I've realised while I've been stalking it in the back of my mind since then is that rewriting it in that way is the wrong approach. In some ways, it's the lazy approach, and I know I can do myself and the story more justice than that.

What I need to do is set aside the original text and focus on the story and characters and figure out which elements of the original I want to keep, and which I need to create a-fresh for my YA audience.

So that's a big part of what I'm stalking at the moment. Which elements do belong in this new version? How can I approach the story in a way that condenses it, while at the same time retaining the core of the tale I want to tell? Do all of the characters belong in this story? Can I merge some of them and still retain the important aspects of their role in the story?

And the big question that's been occupying me for a while is what I want the flavour of the world and the story to be, and how I go about creating it on the page. What I want to do is evoke the flavour of the adult novel and make its focus more specific. And last night, one of the pieces of that puzzle dropped into place at last, which gives me a big boost since a lot of the time, I feel like the task I've set myself is too big and scary for little ol' me. I keep reminding myself what Helena said of Hermia in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Though she be but little, she is fierce."

I can do this! I can! 
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: (Gargoyle)
I'm irritated with Patrick Rothfuss (author of 'The Name of the Wind' and 'The Wise Man's Fear')*. Is that even allowed? I mean, he's really famous, and really popular, and really clever, and writes really good books. And he's funny.

*Sigh* Come to think of it, I might actually hate him!

It's not that I'm annoyed with him for being such an all round good guy (seriously, he's used his celebrity to establish a charity called Worldbuilders that raises money for Heifer International). I'm not even annoyed with him for writing such excellent books. What irks me is that he uses a name that I've used and really like, and was really wedded to, and which is part of the world in which my ShadowNovel series is set. (The books that will form the basis of my next writing project).

Dammit!

Now, I came up with this name (it's a name for a particular place) in around ... um ... probably 2004/5. 'The Name of the Wind' — in which the place with the same name is a crucial setting— came out in 2007. But I'm a little behind the game, because I only read the novel last year (I know, I really have been living on the moon as far as the adult fantasy genre goes). If only I'd read it sooner, I might have saved myself considerable grief, because I'd have spotted that I wasn't the only person to come up with the name, and could have ditched it before becoming too wedded to it.

I still have to ditch it; it's too unique and too memorable, and Rothfuss' books are too well known and loved, and the last thing I want is for anyone to think I nicked it from him. Trouble is, my place with that name has had that name for so long it's now going to be really hard to think of it as anything else.

It irked me the first time I read 'The Name of the Wind' and it's double-triple irking me now that I'm re-reading it.

So yeah, big fat raspberries to Mr Rothfuss. Hurrumph!

*I realise this won't mean anything to those of you who don't read fantasy.
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.
jennygordon: (Clock)
All kinds of fascinating things wafting through my imagination today. Things like the Neolithic Tomb of the Eagles in Orkney, and the Dorset Cursus. Blame it on watching 'Stories from the Dark Earth' (archaeology programme) on the BBC last night.

I'm thinking about boundaries of the Wildwood, and prehistoric tribal totems and ancient ancestral magic and how those ancestors had such a deep connection to the land; the kind of connection modern man has lost.

None of the thoughts have anything whatsoever to do with SeaNovel, and everything to do with ShadowNovel, which remains shadowy in my imagination. Like a dream all-but lost in the mist upon waking. Entrancing and intriguing and just out of reach.

I can't wait to be done with SeaNovel so I can take a wander through the mist and discover what it conceals.
jennygordon: (Roe Deer fawn)
Thought I'd share some of those ancient places that make my soul sing.

This is Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey in North Wales. Translated into English, that means "the mound in the dark grove." It's a Neolithic stone circle and henge monument, with a Bronze Age passage grave in the middle. At the rear is a standing stone carved with spirals and ripples. It's a place I've known and loved for over 20 years. Pagans of all shapes and colours gather there at the summer solstice, but most of the time, you can enjoy the deep, quiet atmosphere all on your own.

Bryn Celli Ddu1

And here's the entrance to the passage grave. Inside, it's cool and embracing and smells of rich earth:

Bryn Celli Ddu2

This is another site on Anglesey known as Plas Newydd Chambered Tomb. It's a Neolithic monument. Despite being in the grounds of the stately home of Plas Newydd, the tomb still retains a mighty sense of presence, especially when viewed with the mountains of Snowdonia in the background.

Plas Newydd

Here's a clearer picture of the tomb itself. It's about 10 foot tall at the apex:

Plas Newydd2

This is Stanton Drew Stone Circle in Somerset, although it's actually two huge circles, plus a stone row and a number of outliers. It's a little-known and little-visited site, so usually there's just you and the cows.

Stanton Drew 2

The stones are a beautiful rich, red sandstone:

Stanton Drew 1

jennygordon: (Roe Deer fawn)
(I've been debating posting this all morning, because it's kind of personal, but you know ... we're all friends here, so what the hey?)

Since I was a little girl, I've been drawn to the ancient places in the British landscape — to the monuments built by our distant ancestors to the living and to the dead and to their unknowable gods. Something about those places touches me on a level that is deep and old and true. Spending time at a stone circle or burial mound or other sacred site moves me. It connects me with Deep History, but moreover, it connects me with the ancient soul of the land that I feel in my bones and in my heart. Something in me knows those places. It remembers on a level too deep for conscious understanding.

I've recently discovered an album by modern composers Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer inspired by the ancient, sacred landscape of Dartmoor and the prehistoric people who once lived there. Dartmoor was once lush and wooded, and during the Bronze Age, a thriving population lived there. Over-farming and climate change combined to create the treeless moorland landscape that exists today, and drove those distant clans away. And somehow, Shaw and Hillyer have reached through the misty miles of time and connected with those peoples, creating an album of songs, chants and instrumental pieces which touch their world and provide a gateway into the Deep Past.

It feels deep and true, and it has set something stirring inside me.

I've long included aspects of ancient landscapes in my writing, but now I want to do more. I want, somehow, to bring these feelings of deep connection with our ancestral past into my stories. It feeds into the reimagined version of ShadowNovel that's simmering in my semi-consciousness. I don't know how I'm going to approach it, or even how I'm going to achieve it, but the desire to do so is a powerful one, and I know I should heed it.
jennygordon: (Magpie)
I'm SOOOOOO excited!

My naughty brain has been secretly pondering my next project. In truth, I've been pondering my next project in the back of my mind since last summer when I decided I was going to reimagine an old work of mine (secret codename ShadowNovel). I've been magpie-gathering bits and pieces of ideas for it ever since.

What? I can't help it; I have a busy-busy brain!

Anyway, I can't wait any longer, so I've decided to start doing some research in readiness, inbetween working on the SeaNovel rewrites. Well, I can't sit at a computer ALL day, can I?

Although I have no clue where the inspiration came from, my magpie-gathering has coalesced around a certain thing, so yesterday, I visited my wonderful library's online catalogue and ordered a couple of books on The Silk Route!!!

How exciting is that???!!!!

Really really exciting in Jenny World!

So many obscure and largely forgotten corners of history to explore! So many delicious new cultures to discover! So much inspiration my brain is fair exploding at the mere thought of it all! And the vast majority of it will be sparkly new territory for me, which is so thrilling.

I love uncovering new bits of history. It's as satisfying for my brain as chocolate is for my tummy!

All I need now is for the books to arrive *drums fingers; checks email for notification AGAIN.*

***UPDATE*** UPDATE***  I've just checked my email (again), and one of the books has arrived, which means I can pick it up within the next hour. Now I really am going to explode!
jennygordon: (Skywatcher)
I recently came across this wonderful article by Robin LaFevers on "The Writer Unboxed" website. It send me fizzing with enthusiasm, stirring memories of the days when I used to create scrapbooks and mood boards for my books, and do Tarot card readings for my characters. While I still collect inspiring images, I’m far less disciplined than I used to be about collating them in any form, because creating things like mood boards started to feel like taking time away from writing.

However, as Robin LaFevers rightly points out, such creative play isn’t fancy procrastination. Rather, it feeds the creative process. I love the different approaches she shares in her article. So inspiring!

As I read, I found myself jolting out of the rut of my current habits and acquired perceptions of time-wasting. In fact, I remembered my old novel-related scrapbooks with such excitement that I dug one out. It was one of several I compiled as inspirational reference for the original ShadowNovel and DancingNovel books. Simply leafing through it got me buzzing over the stories and their world all over again. Here are a couple of the page spreads:

Scrapbook 2

Scrapbook 1

In fact, I’m so enthused about the idea of rediscovering creative play that I’ve resolved to put together a mood board when I begin serious work on the reimagined version of ShadowNovel. (Soonish, soonish, I hope! SeaNovel rewrites permitting!) I also have an idea for a kind of illustrated travelogue, using extracts from the original novels to help me get back into the world. I'm so itching to get cracking with it that it's hard to concentrate on poor SeaNovel! Willpower, Jenny, Willpower!

I thoroughly recommend you take five minutes to read the article. If you do, I hope it inspires you as much as it has me.

I’d love to hear if any of you use "creative play" as a part of your writing process. If so, what form does it take?
jennygordon: (Gargoyle)
I'm pleased to say that I've spent a constructive few days with ShadowNovel. Being very stern with myself, I decided to tuck away all thoughts of SeaNovel until next weekend. I've asked my beta readers to get their feedback to me by Friday 21st, and my plan is to use the Christmas break to read and absorb it all, cogitate, and then begin the rewrites. But for now, it's ShadowNovel's turn.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been feeling pretty intimidated by the scale of the task I've taken on with reimagining this old novel of mine. But this weekend, I sat my doubt and fear on the shelf behind me, out of sight, where it grumbles and glowers at me like a gargoyle, so I can focus on searching out my way forward.

One of the things I've done is take a look at my original notebooks for the original novel from 2003, when I was first brewing the story as it was then. It's fascinating observing the passionate and fiery birth amidst a maelstrom of ideas and diamond-hard determination to make something of them. In one scrawled note, I tell myself in capital letters: "YOU CAN DO THIS!!!"

What struck me perhaps most forcibly was how I tried to squeeze all of those ideas - every last one - into the book. Um ... which probably goes a long way to explaining why the resulting novel ended up so damned huge and impenetrable. Er-hem!

This time, nearly ten years along the writing path, I'm trying to concentrate on the true core of the story, asking myself at every stage: Does this element belong? Does it build on the central premise? Does it add to the overarching mood? Does it belong on the page, or should it remain in my head as material to inform the story as I shape it? Or indeed, does it belong in a different book entirely?

After numerous hours sitting on my bed, incense burning, candles lit, chocolate to hand, I've come away with a goodly page-count of notes that include the beginnings of a plan. It's tentative and unsteady on its feet, but it's definitely nothing to be so scared of. Or so I keep reminding the Gargoyle of Writerly Doubt perched on the shelf behind me.

Oh, and have I mentioned ....

I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK!!!!!
jennygordon: (Clematis)
Funny, isn't it, how each new book we write can demand an entirely different approach from the previous one.

As you know, I've recently been making tentative explorations of my new project, ShadowNovel (picture me peeking out from the forest foliage at the tangled path ahead, startling at the gibbering roar that echoes from the undergrowth and ducking back into hiding again!) While SeaNovel was written almost entirely on screen, ShadowNovel is requiring me to return to the tactile pleasure of pen and notebook.

Weird.

I haven't written a novel longhand for a long time, with the exception of the odd scene I had to snatch off the coat-tails of inspiration as she whisked past, at times when I didn't have a computer to hand.

(I should note here that my 'thinking' is nearly always done with paper and pen, regardless of the novel at hand).

I had forgotten how satisfying it is to see those notebook pages filling up with writing. There's something immensely pleasing about curling up on my bed and scribbling away ... pausing, re-reading, scribbling out ... It has the added advantage that by the time I come around to typing it up, I will already be revising as I go. More than that, I find that writing longhand makes me go slower, pausing to consider before I splurge the words, because there's no easy 'delete' key, and lots of crossings out make it look really messy.

Okay, so it looks pretty messy anyway!

Of course, ShadowNovel is going to require a significantly different approach as a whole, since it's a reimagining of an existing novel, while SeaNovel was a new thing altogether. I'm still tiptoeing up to it, with little real idea of how I'm going to go about the reimagining in practical terms. I'm fairly certain it's going to require a LOT of brain squeezing!

I'm looking forward to the weekend so I can immerse myself again.

How about you? What's the format you prefer for writing your early drafts? Do you find it can change depending on the novel, or am I just being a bit schizophrenic?
jennygordon: (Clock)
So, remember back in the summer while SeaNovel was pickling between drafts, I took a tentative peek at an old fantasy novel of mine - DancingNovel - with a view to reworking it as a Young Adult story?

Well, turns out it wasn't as simple as that - what ever is?!

See DancingNovel, in its original form, was actually a sequel to another nasty, dark adult fantasy. Book One was indeed very nasty and dark, and I had no interest in revisiting it in any form. But - oh yes, you knew there was going to be a but (insert your own joke!) - but, the more I noodled with DancingNovel, the more it began to suspect that if I was going to return to the world of those books, then I needed to revisit Book One first to do the overarching story justice.

Since the beginning of August, I've been immersed in the latest draft of SeaNovel, but all the time, this new project has been simmering quietly at the back of my mind, releasing the occassional delicious smell, like a slow-cooking casserole. And now that SeaNovel is out with my beta readers (*gulp*), it's finally time for me to turn my attention to the pot and discover what has been cooking.

Hmmm ... a castle on a cliff; a stroppy fosterling; ancient voices, and ... oh ... a beautiful amber bead.

Uh oh. Looks like my next project isn't gonig to be DancingNovel at all. Nope. That clever voice at the back of my brain cupboard was right. If I'm returning to the world of DancingNovel, then I need to begin at the beginning and rewrite Book One first.

No leap-frogging allowed!

So, Book One it is.

If I was going to be reworking it in its original adult form, I'd call it NastyDarkNovel. But I'm not - so there! I'm going to be pulling the whole thing apart to find the less nasty and dark YA novel at its heart. And I can sense it in there somewhere.

So, let's just call it ... ShadowNovel. Hurrah!

Excited? Me?

Oh hell, yeah!

Intimidated? Er, yep, that too ...

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