Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Works in progress

I'm currently working on one book awaiting final edit, one partly-finished piece, and one that's a mere shell of a novel. I'm not particularly good at finishing things, you see.

Work One is a novella and semi-autobiographical. It's close to my heart, which I think is why I'm having trouble finding the energy to polish it. A publisher offered to take it on but I didn't like the terms. Once it is finished I'm unsure if I will promote it very heavily - I like what it is, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Work Two is a bugbear. I've been finding its writing fascinating. The character has kept me awake at night in excitement as I, the author, wonder what will become of her. Unfortunately it is written in first person which is a monumental no-no, particularly so for a novice writer. I did, in fact, originally begin writing it in third person for that very reason, but it just didn't "flow" well. I know it's because I dream of being that character - she's not me, and I wouldn't want her life, but I would love to possess her strength of character. For all her hardships there is a certain allure of the triumph of ultimate success over adversity. The main reason this one has stalled is my indecision in where the book should go next. It's 16000 words in without even a hint of telling me what its climax is going to be! Cardinal rule, don't write a novel without a plan. I broke that one. My daughter read the opening chapters and wanted to read more, but she did comment that it had yet another abused girl as the protagonist. It's somewhat clichĂ©, I suppose, but what point is there to read about a strong girl who grows up to be a strong woman? Hasn't Jackie Collins mastered that genrĂ©? And quite apart from the fact that this girl is emotionally-strong, she's also rather blank. She does X, Y and Z without a whole lot of feeling (again, the fault of first-person, where the chief way to represent feelings involves "and I felt..."). I think it either needs a shelving, another key character, or a re-write back into third person. Once I figure out where it's going, that is.

Work Three is one I began but lost the passion for. It was actually begun before Work Two and is (yes) the story of a downtrodden girl. In what's written so far she is still very young and is growing up neglected in poverty-ridden surroundings. The plan for this book was that she should evolve into an opportunistic, cold-hearted entrepreneur, who takes advantage of those around her to climb above her origins. As it is set in rural Australia, the chief difficulty has been that several aspects of the storyline should (and would) have aroused the attention of authorities, resulting in government intervention which create problems in several of the key plot points. These stumbling blocks led me to create the older, less-wily character in Work Two, where the setting has been moved to an unnamed, foreign country, in order to remove such limitations.