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...
At Hawthorn Time ~ Melissa Harrison
5 hours ago