Well, the short story is finished, and firmly into novelette territory. It’s a strange thing that when I set out intending to write a novella every word has to be squeezed out, and when I set out to write a short story it ended up about three times as long as I’d intended.
The villain has been identified, the heroine has moved on a little. I enjoyed it, and I just about figured out who did it.
And now I’ve realised I don’t have a title for it. It had a working title, which was the name of the heroine, as a label for the word file. I have no idea what to call the finished story. It’s a murder investigation, set in the supernatural druids world I’d previously come up with for the novella (and steals one setting from that novella, which will never see the light of day otherwise!). It’s based in London, and has a private investigator, who mostly works for the druid clans. Hair is key to the plot. Any ideas? No, me neither.
I’m putting the story away for a couple of days now, so I can come back to it with fresh eyes for editing. I’m wondering whether I should try to follow Stephen King’s advice on editing (2nd draft = 1st draft- 10%) or stick with my usual approach, which is to add words in the second draft because I usually don’t write long enough. Let’s hope that by the time I’ve made that decision, a title will also have suggested itself.
Well, that was a slightly longer gap than it should have been. The truth is, that while I’ve been doing a fair bit of writing in the last (gulp) nine months, most of it has not been fiction based. I’ve been working fairly hard at the day job doing a lot of academic writing.
I have had one interim success, which was the publication on Every Day Fiction of one of my shorts. To be honest, I completely missed the actual publication day and found out some time later.
It’s ironic that the last post should have been about the completion of the novella draft. It was so dreadful I haven’t revised it. Mostly because I realised that the reason that I hadn’t been able to write the book I wanted to write was that the heroine was actually in love with the wrong person. Or possibly that I had crowded my hero out by inserting in someone else. So while I’m thinking about how to fix that (and I have some ideas) I’ve started work on a new story set in the same world, which is probably going to end up in the novelette category (i.e. it’s going to be about 10k when done). I’m enjoying it, and my new heroine, who is much more kick-ass and much more in charge of her own life.
This year the one new year’s resolution I’ve managed to stick to (so far) is to read 100 books by women before I read any by men. I’m about 25 in so far, and one of the interesting things is that I’m not finding any problem in finding things to read. There are maybe two or three books which I’ve come across this year that I’ve really wanted to read but have had to put off. I am perhaps reading a slightly different range of things than I would have done – less literary fiction and fantasy and more sad books, but that’s partly because I bought two ten packs of books from the Book People and that means reading what they sent! I have another 35 books lined up to read before I have to start thinking about finding some new ones. There are probably another hundred books scattered around the house which I haven’t read, some of which are also by women. This is a frightening statistic, although if you don’t tell anyone, no-one will know.
In that line, anyway, an interesting Guardian books podcast on women and women’s writing: