Monday, September 12, 2011

Novel Update!

Now in case of few of you might be wondering what's happening with my novel, here is the general update.

Firstly, just to say there are 3 main characters in the novel, 2 of which I seem to have pretty well nailed, in the, yes they are brilliant characters type of thing.  One however was lacking something, I had my suspicions about her, and these were confirmed when I tested the opening chapters on a trusted expert. 

So, I set about rediscovering this character, and it has taken me a while to get to the bottom of her, 8 weeks to be exact.  I wrote and wrote, and rewrote, and sat up in bed in the middle of the night writing things about her, scrawling bits on bus tickets, you know the type of thing, until finally, somehow, miraculously she was there on the page/pages.  But the trouble was, I spent so long rewriting her, rereading her, and at times feeling jailed in the pages with her, that I could not recognise if at long last she was real, well not really real, but you know what I mean.

Now, this is where having friends who are fellow struggling writers comes in very handy.  I went off a couple of weeks back for a gathering of the clan, four of us who had just completed a workshop with Conor Kostick at the Irish Writers Centre.  Having emailed the first 3 chapters off to my chosen victims, we set about reviewing everyone's work, and me, being me, avoided my own moment of truth, leaving my chapters to the very end.  Thankfully, the chapters got the thumbs up, so I was delighted - I think if they had not, I would have really worried about ever getting to the bottom of this fictional being.  The group also gave me a couple of small suggestions, which were great.  In fact this topic came up at the RTE Guide/Penguin workshop on Friday by Sinead Moriarty, who said she really appreciated the support her writing group has given her over the years.  Sometimes, having an outsider look at your work, is exactly what you need.  They see things that you can miss. So, some small rewrites and chapters 1-3 will be ready for flight. 

Secondly, it was also suggested by my trusted expert, that instead of just putting in a few lines about myself in the pitch letter, I should do a separate author bio.  At first I wasn't too sure on this, but nevertheless, I gave it a go, and it actually turned out very well.  Another job done, as it too is now ready for the off.

Okay, I have pitch letter, I have separate author bio, I have chapters 1-3 with just some small modifications, which leaves only one thing, the synopsis.  Now I did do a synopsis already, a lovely one page one, and it was harder to do than I thought, but I got there in the end, or at least what I thought was the end.  Here's the thing, apparently because mine is a crime novel, an expansion of this is now required, a longer synopsis, 2-3 pages, within which all relevant plot twists are revealed.  I dread doing this because I know how difficult the first one was for me, but thankfully I have a plan - and here it is. 

This week I'm going to do a complete reread through the novel, writing 2 lines about each chapter.  Then I am going to review all 120 sentences (60 chapters by 2), and I am going to do an overview with all the relevant twists and turns.  I figure this will give me two things.  One, it will be a very good springboard for a comprehensive 2-3 page synopsis, and secondly, I hope the overview might trigger a couple of plot twists/questions which will improve the structure.  Jean Kwok, also spoke at the Penguin workshop on Friday and she gave a very good suggestion on novel writing, she said never answer one question for the reader unless you have put in at least another couple of unanswered questions.  I thought it was brilliant, and I am hoping I have already achieved this, but if I haven't, by the time I get to the end of this week, I will have!

Right, so no television for me this week, I have a novel to read, fingers crossed it's a cracker! I will fill you all in next Monday, that is a promise:)


  1. I have no doubt that you will be a great success, and I'm thrilled to come along for the journey. You've got some helpful tips and fantastic insights. Cheers to your continued success!

    Hope you've defeated the head cold ;-/

  2. Ah thanks Amberr - and continued success to you too!

  3. This sounds very professional! How are you reading it? I've found reading it as a hard copy is great but recently I converted something I wanted to review into a PDF and because the pages had more of a look of an actual book, it made me feel more like a reader, gave me that extra objective feeling. Good luck with it all!

  4. louise i think you're very dedicated, spending 8 weeks rediscovering a character - its inspiring and sounds like it paid off! Fingers crossed for you and your novel, looking forward to that update:)

  5. Reading through a hard copy Alison, but the PDF sounds like a good idea.
    Thanks Words A Day - I hope it does pay off:)

  6. A lovely and inspiring post, Louise. I think you were right to give your character the time you did to develop - strong characters are so important. It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job and I can't wait to read it someday soon. x

  7. I am delighted for you, all of your post are great and you are so nice to follow on Twitter......I realy hope it all goes well for me.

  8. I am so impressed! I'm going to have to lie down after just reading all that.

  9. Agree with all the comments - especially Alison's PDF conversion - and the approach you're taking. One thing you might also try is to put yourself in the publisher's office where you've been given 5 minutes to 'sell' your book by answering the question: "Why will people want to read this?"

    Looking forward to hearing more!

  10. Here's hoping that someday will be one day Maria!:)

    Thanks Michelle - you too!

    Titus I exhaust myself - good plan:)

    Caren - as always you are spot on - 5 minutes to 'sell it' and if I can do it in even shorter time - all the better!!

  11. OOOps a typo from me, obvs I meant - 'I hope it goes well for you'.


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