Thursday, 2 August 2012

Feeling a bit crushed

There's a lot going on at home, at the moment. Visitors, family stuff, kid stuff, that sort of thing, that builds up and leaves you feeling tired before the day even starts. Then at the end of the day, you can't sleep...

The one thing that's going according to plan is the writing. The deadline has stuck, the writing is flowing - in a kind of lumpy, chapterish way. Now I have a dilemma.  For Borrowed Time (that became The Secrets of Life and Death) I alternated chapters between the present and the past. This time, I'm sort of putting chunks of the old in with the new and I think I ought to stick to the formula I used before. Only now I have to move everything...the contemporary strand is about 60k words in 31 chapters, so quite short chapters really. But adding the old would make a 90k book into sixty odd chapters - even shorter chunks. I think jumping from chapter to chapter needs a change of pace or a reason, because it does stall the flow for the reader. But jumping four centuries or more is also distracting. I don't know. I may have to try both. 

The other problem is, the first sentence needs to be strong, engaging. The contemporary strand is much stronger from the beginning. 
It was a bone from a baby’s hand. A slimy twig on Sage Westfield’s latex glove, the ends crumbled away by the action of the sieve, it was still distinctive to a trained eye. 
The historical strand starts out quiet and tenses up. Choices, choices... at least, this time, I can ask the opinion of my agent. (That hasn't got old, saying 'my agent'). At least the stress at home has stopped me fretting about the book at the editors... 


  1. I feel absolutely the same way - my contemporary chapters have MUCH stronger openings. Frustrating isn't it!

    1. Definitely! I'm having a rethink about sequence now...

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Downith, I did dream about doing it so I'm obviously stressing about it!