Friday, 28 May 2010

A week of two halves

Hello hello hello

I've had an unusually rollercoastery week this week *pauses to wipe brow*. Some things have been unbelievably ACE... like the fact that Sweet Temptation is NUMBER ONE in the Heatseekers chart this week (that means it's just outside the official Top 50) - woo-hoo! I am so utterly chuffed. It's still only on sale in Tesco at the moment, so I am also a little bit - actually quite a lot - in love with all those Tesco shoppers who've picked up a copy. Mwah. Thank you, Tesco shoppers. You're great. I hope you like the book. (And if you do, 'Hens Reunited' is currently in a 3 for 2 offer in Tesco too...)
I've already had some lovely emails from complete strangers saying they've read it and enjoyed it, which makes me feel really happy. And one week today, Sweet Temptation will be on sale everywhere else which is great news. So that has all been WONDERFUL.

Slightly less wonderful has been my battle with the current work-in-progress. Honestly, I have never agonised so much about a book before, NEVER. I don't want to sound melodramatic or pretentious (much), but I have just been tearing my hair out over how I could get it to work. It started off as a one-person narrative but then a few months ago, I decided to add in another storyline from a second main character, hoping to weave them together. The storylines and characters were quite different, so the idea was that they would complement each other and then tie in beautifully towards the end. Well, that was the plan, anyway.

Unfortunately, tying the storylines together has been way more difficult than I thought. I tried all sorts of things to bring my characters together in order to justify having a double narrative, but really, I was scraping around to make the common ground work. Although each time I was able to find a temporary solution to the problem, I knew in my heart that something still felt wrong. It just didn't quite work. Deep down, I knew the second narrative had been a mistake.
As I was writing it, I kept imagining my editor expressing doubts, and even worse, the scathing reviews if anyone read it in its current messy state. It was starting to get longer and longer, more and more out of hand. It wasn't right. "Keep it simple," my agent said. Good advice.

So, yesterday I took a deep breath and cut out the second narrative. All 25,000 words of it. Yes. That's 25,000 words, all gone. And yes. I did nearly cry.

BUT... even though making the cut was awful, it wasn't long before I felt so much more positive about the book again, and relieved that I'd finally faced facts, gritted my teeth and removed this second character. I know it was the right thing to do. I've now mapped out the rest of the book for my one remaining character and it works a million times better. And even though cutting out that second character was painful, I have put her aside, perhaps for book 6. It's a good story, just not one that works with my original story.

So there have been deep breaths and sighs, as well as the cheers and smiles this week. Never a dull moment... but I feel as if I've got my head around this novel now which can only be a good thing. I guess it shows that when there's a voice telling you that an element of your novel doesn't work, it's important to listen to that voice, rather than sticking your fingers in your ears and saying 'lalalalala can't hear you' which is what I've been doing for the last few months!

Have a good bank holiday weekend everyone, anyway. I'm off to the Hay Festival to do a few children's book events which should be a laugh. Let's hope the rain stays away this year...

56 comments:

Talli Roland said...

Have fun at the Hay festival! I was in Hay last week for the first time and I loved it.

Best of luck with your current MS - I'm sure it will come out brilliantly!

JJ Beattie said...

Fabulous news about Sweet Temptation. Congratulations.

I am having exactly the same problems with my book. Right now I'm sticking my head in the sand... and pretending none of it exists.

Hodmandod said...

I think right there you have the outline of the next book! Feel for you though. Am in 2nd draft craziness with manuscript getting way too long.

Lucy Diamond said...

Thanks all of you - it's good to hear from others who have been there, done that - or been there, still doing that, rather!

Hay was fab (bar a few small glitches), will write up a proper post soon. xxx

LilyS said...

Congrats on the news about ST. Hope you had a good BH weekend (where did it go??)

730A_ngelinaRabideau0 said...

i trust everything will be fine. bless you!........................................

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佩GailBohanan1蓉 said...

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俊翔 said...

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Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Hello!

How was Hay?

So exciting to hear about the new books doing so well!

My second book has a double narrative, and it can make things devilish difficult at times. I'm currently doing a final edit and occasionally cusring myself for having done it this way, but I think I've got it working. But isn't it a good feeling when you finally take the plunge and expunge something that wasn't working? Scary and stressful, yes, but also cathartic. Purge, innit. Well done you for taking it in hand. And how is it going now??

xxx

則義 said...

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.................................................................

王婷珊 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」......................................................................

佳燕 said...

死亡是悲哀的,但活得不快樂更悲哀。......................................................................

祐白祐白 said...

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麗珠麗珠麗珠 said...

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王名仁 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

與發 said...

每次看完你的文章,總是回味許久,要經常發表喔。..................................................................

香昱信張君林 said...

Words are not living in dictionary. Words are living in mind.............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

成功可招引朋友,挫敗可考驗朋友............................................................

Graeme K Talboys said...

Saw 'Sweet Temptation' and 'Hens United' in the bookshop on Arran this week.

賢林賢林 said...

希望我的支持可以帶給你快樂--加油.............................................................

楊家堯楊家堯楊家堯 said...

forgive others but not yourself...................................................

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天氣涼了~要注意身體喔@~@............................................................

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RicoLisi0802志竹 said...

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蕭v柯凡豐珈火 said...

「仁慈」二個字,就能讓冬天三個月都溫暖。.......................................................

仲惠娟惠娟亨 said...

世間事沒有一樣沒有困難,只要有信心去做,至少可以做出一些成績。..................................................

家唐銘 said...

Of two evils choose the least.............................................................

謝俊林奕宏宏 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

校仪 said...

生命是一頓豐富的宴席,有人卻寧可挨餓................................................

文王廷 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼............................................................

峻胡邦慧v帆 said...

Man proposes, God disposes..................................................................

群育航學 said...

生命的意義,是在於活的充實;而不是在於活得長久。............................. ...................................

江仁趙雲虹昆 said...

keep update, please..bless you!!............................................................

Single Mother on the Verge said...

it's a late comment.... but that's brill, book 5 and kids books, I don't know how you do it! xxx do you have 8 arms, each tapping at a laptop?
mx

Ladyhihi said...

I think right there you have the outline of the next book! Feel for you though. Am in 2nd draft craziness with manuscript getting way too long.


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Cally said...

Just thought I'd pop by to say CONGRATULATIONS on your Melissa Nathan shortlisting. Fantastic news! Missing you in blogworld and Facebook and hope you're okay x

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Hi Lucy, why aren't you blogging anymore????

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ChjpHunter said...

My second book has a double narrative, and it can make things devilish difficult at times. I'm currently doing a final edit and occasionally cusring myself for having done it this way, but I think I've got it working. But isn't it a good feeling when you finally take the plunge and expunge something that wasn't working? Scary and stressful, yes, but also cathartic. Purge, innit. Well done you for taking it in hand. And how is it going now??







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Enricque said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank stein said...

e rest of the book for my one remaining character and it works a million times better. And even though cutting out that second character was painful, I have put her aside, perhaps for book 6. It's a good story, just not one that works with my original story.

Frank stein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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lol said...

I am having exactly the same problems with my book. Right now I'm sticking my head in the sand... and pretending none of it exists.

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