Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Thousand by thousand, we build a book.

It's slow going sometimes, although a thousand words a day is a bit of a triumph after the last few weeks. Yesterday I hit three and a half thousand words in one go, partly because I had raw material to draw on. My Kelley strand is at 16k, not bad since 1 January. But I still don't know where it's going and I think Alexandria is too ambitious. I wonder is Kirkira in Corfu will be enough. Actually, I don't think it will. Alexandria was such a powerful centre of commerce, I think we'll end up there anyway.

My problem has been backstory. Kelley had a whole adventure a couple of months before this story starts, and that is the springboard for this whole book. What I didn't want to write is: the story so far... In fact, those are the bits that are mostly getting taken out. It's so much harder to weave them into the story, and I still found I had a big chunk to tell, so I made Kelley stand up and tell it by firelight, to a bunch of sceptical, semi-mutinous sailors. But I still need a few bits. I need to tell the story of what Dee did while Kelley was gallivanting all over Venice in book 2. Hm. More weaving needed, which means going back (again) and putting more little clues in. How do people do it? How on earth can someone plan all this out ahead of time? For those of you who plot - I salute you. I wish I could do it.

Meanwhile, cancer-cat is recovering really well from her surgery while cancer-man is almost back to normal after his (much more extensive) operation. It's nice not to have to worry about him moving a chair or putting a log on the fire in case he pulls something. The cat will hopefully gain a good summer or so from the surgery. Then we will be down to one cat - hard to believe we started last hear with four healthy if elderly kitties. We're starting to get past the painful numbness and crushing terror of the diagnosis now and to plan some fun things. Like a trip to Rosemoor to see the winter garden. A drive down to Hampshire to see friends and family and give a talk in Winchester.

I also spoke to my editor about book 1. Book sales are low. Hardbacks sell very few and mine is in the doldrums. It's early days and we all have more hope for the paperback. I'm not surprised - they will always tell you good news but everyone goes quiet about bad news. My focus is more on book 2 and 3, we'll see. As always, I am kept afloat by Ian Rankin's remarkable story of how long he waited for a commercial success with his books.


  1. Hi Rebecca
    Delighted to hear how much you are writing - you must have build up a head of steam while it was harder to write a while ago. Also good to hear that your husband and cat are recovering! And yes, writing-wise, every writing blog I read advises that we all need to roll with the punches and not get discouraged by bad news. Keep going and enjoy your writing.

    1. Thank you! Not only that, but writing is good therapy for a writer. It's good to come back to it.

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