CALIFORNIA DREAMING…

JL-All-Books

For someone who surrounds herself with music for most of her waking hours the above song seems most relevant as I look out of the window.  ‘All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey...’ is the opening line and that’s exactly how it is here today.  There is still some green in the trees down the river valley but mostly brown and gold flutters confetti-like onto the streets and gardens where I live.  Driving into the city from my home in the eastern suburbs there is a park which is bordered by chestnut trees.  These are the first to bud in the spring and now are the first to give us an amazing display of rich golds and bronzes. I always feel sad when Autumn arrives. The year is drawing to a close and colder days are on their way but I guess in life as in all things there has to be a balance.  It would be great to have perpetual spring or summer. However no doubt if that happened we would long for the beautiful clear blue skies of frosty winter mornings or cold wet evenings when we drew the curtains and curled up in front of the fire to read a good book or watch a movie.

And now to writing. Having just returned from a friend’s birthday celebrations in the Channel Islands I’ve got three months to knock the first draft of my new novel into shape.  It’s amazing when you finish that draft how well you think you’ve done.  It’s only when you come to sit down and retrace your steps you realise how many imperfections there are.  How dialogue can be changed to give a bigger impact or how working the scene from another character’s perspective might make the read more interesting.  All these things and more come into play once you start the editing process.  I have to confess to never being able to write small books.  To date they have all been big reads probably because of the subject material – a family saga spread across several years.  Although I told myself the new book would be smaller the draft currently sits at 120,000 words.  This means it will need some extensive pruning before it’s ready to go if I am to keep my promise to myself. Amazing that when I started writing I thought the whole story could be wrapped up in one book. That has not happened, so Summer Moved On will now have a sequel.

This time around I’ve decided to work with a slightly smaller cast.  Some things, of course, don’t change. The book is about provincial life with romance at its core and yes, still with a lot of drama.  This novel has presented new challenges which have been great as I feel it is important to stretch yourself as a writer.  There is a certain comfort in writing a series.  As it develops most of the settings and characters are already well known  and it’s all about incorporating other locations and individuals into the mix to create the new story.  Throwing yourself into the deep end with a completely unknown cast and backdrop can be a bit a giant leap into the dark. You may have made profile notes about each of your characters and locations but they are still very much unknown quantities and you are never sure how the dynamics between the characters will play out until you begin writing .  However that first draft gives you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with both your newbie cast and their surroundings and see whether they work well with your storyline.  I’m glad to say that with a few nips and tucks here and there they have and currently I’m in a good place and on schedule so am one very happy bunny!

And now I’m off to get some lunch…back  next week.

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