Friday, November 21, 2008

62,931 Words

This one seems to be rattling along at a fair old pace. The most worrying thing for me this time is false confidence. You see, with the last one, I knew parts of it were okay but deep down I was always aware that other parts were hideously self-indulgent and grossly overwritten. This one feels so much better. It comes onto the page so much more easily. The idea behind it feels cleaner - less cluttered. This book has a lot less baggage.

So, to be brutally honest with myself about its weaknesses, what am I expecting in my rejection letters this time around?
- too domestic
- dialogue-heavy, too little description of settings and characters
- bad language

There isn't much bad language and I'd be loath to take it out, but I know some WF editors just don't stand for it.
I'm going back over the most talky chapters and trying to put some flesh onto their bones but I don't want to make them too flowery.
And I think that the first few chapters need to be quite cosy and domestic, in order to create a contrast when it all goes pear-shaped.
But then I also believe that, if you find yourself having to defend or explain something over and over, your book's simply not working. No point flogging a dead horse.

We'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

56,223 Words

The Companionate vs. the Romantic Marriage

Or civil partnership, or shared mortgage, or co-parenting, whatever.

The companionate relationship is defined as based on friendship and the practical needs of both partners (running a home/family/joint business, etc.) It isn't necessarily celibate or without tenderness, but it's hardly the stuff of Mills & Boon. The romantic marriage, on the other hand, is focussed primarily on the feelings of the couple for each other, and everything else: home, family, etc. springs from that, but the romance between the partners is the root of it all. Both kinds work equally well if the needs of both parties are aligned, but if one or both yearns for the other kind, things can get messy.

It's becoming clear, around the halfway point of my WIP, now that the mystery of the exotic postcards is solved, that the theme of my story is this: can a companionate marriage ever become genuinely romantic? Can the footing be fundamentally changed if one or both parties is unhappy?

Obviously, I'd love the answer to be "yes" because I want my couple to get back together at the end of the book - rejuvenated and more in love than ever. But I also need it to be believable. So, would you believe it? Could you? And how might it happen? Can it be done without feeling like you're just playing a role?

Any thoughts much appreciated.