* Note to self - must update blog more often. I mean, it's been, what...a year? Eurgh, not good enough! *
I have been writing a work in progress (WIP to those in the know) since the summer of 2018. Yes, those heady days of summer, when we could voluntarily step outside of our houses without fear of social distancing or face masks. Those were good days...
Anyway, I digress. The point is, I am 80,000 words into this never ending story and, to be honest, it doesn't look like its going to coming to a conclusion anytime soon. Given that most commercial fiction is approximately 80k words, I think I'm potentially look at a shed-load of editing. The thought of murdering my darlings and slashing my way through my, ahem, excellent prose doesn't fill me with enthusiasm but I've set myself the goal of finishing this tome and at least giving it a chance in the big bad world of publishing, so if they have to go...well, they have to go!
Anyone who knows me knows that history if my thing. So I have been true to form and my WIP is a timeslip mystery. That means it has a story set in the present time, but it also has a historical story weaved into it. So I have two heroines living in two different time periods. The story pivots around a precious object and the family that own it. It also looks at the theme of repatriation (more on that here) It's been great fun stepping back in time to write the historical parts, as well as getting to grips with my present-day heroine and all her ups and downs. My favourite authors are Katherine Webb, Kate Morton and Rachel Hore - to be honest there are so many more I could mention here (Laura Purcell, Hannah Richell, Iona Grey, Harriet Evans - there are some stunning historical/timeslip writers out there) - and whilst I could never claim to be even half as good at writing fiction as them, I have had some small wins over the last year. The first came in March 2019 when the first 10k of The Magpie's Secret (my WIP) were long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize. Then I got an early Christmas present when it was shortlisted in the Cinnamon Pencil Competition in December 2019. It's all gone a bit quiet into 2020 but I'm still slogging away whenever I can, trying to get the words out. These little boosts are what keep me sitting at my keyboard.
It's probably the hardest thing I've ever tried to achieve but I will get there eventually.
I'm also 30k words into a rom-com called Licketysplits. Getting to know Amelie, the heroine, has been hilarious at times. She has a tendency to blunder her way through life - the word 'hapless' would be apt in describing her. But she has a good heart and I hope, if it ever gets published, readers will warm to her too.
Because I am a writer, and therefore a bit of an introvert (and probably a bit geeky too - disclaimer - not all writers are like this), I'm not ashamed to admit that these characters - that come from the inner most parts of my brain - have become like friends to me. This means that if I ignore them, they start complaining that they're being neglected. So in order to shut them up, I have to keep writing their stories. That probably makes me sound like a crazy person, but at least it keeps me focused 🙂
In other news, I've sold three short stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul in the last couple of years. The books are not all that well known on this side of the Atlantic, but they're popular titles in the States, so I'm thrilled every time I have a story featured. More on them here.
I'll have some more exciting news to share soon, but I'll save that for another post. But for now, it's cheerybye!