Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lay Readers

I'm quite well on with the current rewrite. The book's in three fairly equal parts and I'm just into part two. I do like it better this way. It's as though I've been winging it without the instruction manual thus far, and now I've finally found one. My problem has always been seeing the big picture of the book. I tried printing out and stapling each chapter separately, and laying them all out on the floor, so that I could get an aerial view of it, by standing on the bed. I enjoyed the exercise, but it didn't accomplish very much. I've also tried writing a single paragraph for each chapter - a sort of mini synopsis - but it felt like it was taking too long so I gave up and got back to the writing. Perhaps I ought to try again? I'm a member of a couple of good writing sites, but you can only post work in very small sections so, helpful as they are for some aspects of writing, they can't really help with the flow of the novel as a whole.

As I've said before, my husband won't read my stuff. I've never actually had it out with him, so I don't know if it's because he's afraid he won't like it and I'll be upset, or what. I put an early draft of Amelia's Body on his bedside table once, and it just sat there, gathering dust, until eventually it was so out-of-date that I binned it. My mum's read a later draft, and had some good comments about the ending, in particular. I don't really have anyone else I can ask to read it though. My nana's asked repeatedly for a copy, but mum and I keep stalling because of the swearing!

It's not like I think my nana hasn't lived, but a few weeks ago, mum and I went to see her in Nottingham (she's 89 and still lives alone) and, as we were leaving, she was telling us about these woolly hats she'd been knitting. She was standing at the front door, with her little 3-wheeler trolley, going, "So I've made two. That's TWO hats, one for A___ and one for D___." Indicating the number two by waving two raised fingers at our retreating backs. Her neighbours in the opposite bungalows will no doubt have been wondering what on earth we'd done to merit such a send-off, from so mild-mannered a Quaker octogenarian. We had a good giggle about it in the car.



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