- Shelley Dark
#7 the case of the disappearing finish line
I said I'd let you know of any major developments...
I was imagining six-figure publishing deals, long lunches in Sydney and Melbourne and omg even London, Paris. Interviews on Ellen, Oprah. Champagne overload.
What a dreamer. Back up. Cut. Take #2.
Yep I was ready to pitch the manuscript to publishers. But then again, was I? Little things kept coming back to me. Things I'd dismissed at the time, but they started to take on bigger proportions.
Things like people saying, 'I wish you were writing in your own voice.' I got that a bit. So when someone said, 'Can't wait to read your novel' I'd think really? If you're basing that on my travel diaries, or Instagram, you're going to be disappointed, because this novel is not in my voice.
One of the girls in my writing group said spontaneously, quite early in the piece, 'The stories you've told us about your research - why don't you try to weave them into the novel?' I dismissed the idea because I thought it would yank you out of the action too much, back to the present.
I'm slow, I know. But after all this time, I began to think maybe they had a point. I could take this novel from a stereotypical work of historical fiction, to something more modern, more contemporary. Something that speaks to today. I began to hear phrases like dual narrative. I'd heard them before, but now they meant something.
OMG hasn't this been a long slow learning curve? Thanks for sticking with me.
Of course. Why not try it? Run two stories side by side? Let the research chapters pose the questions that the action chapters answer.
It will be.different from the usual parallel narrative, which has two stories interwoven and intersecting, with a theme that unites them. It may be hard to sustain, but I have nothing to lose.
So mates that's where I am right now. Forget about me for a while. I'm back at the drawing board. I have about 20-40,000 words to slash to make some elbow room, and 40 short chapters to add. And I'm changing the tense of the whole thing.
I'm sorry if you are disappointed the finishing line has shifted, and thanks for still being here.
But it's exciting. Challenging but exciting. And it will be better in the end. And if it's not, I have kept the original. I have a couple of speed-dating-literary-pitches coming up in early May so I'd like to be well-advanced with this by then.
Stay well buddies. Here are flowers for you, from my kitchen bench today. The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket right now, but keep donating - time, $, whatever you can. And keep yourself busy - it helps.
And remember, I wait you.