Monday, 17 June 2013

Busy!





I've just made myself a new playlist to exercise to (cross-training is my intention) because there has been far too much chocolate cake, coffee and wine going on here. I'm beginning to miss actual - you know - energy - especially since what I've been feeling instead is snappish and migrainey.
I've decided I need something a bit shouty to make me run fast, so I've been looking out some old girl bands with those cute-little-girl voices shouting out feisty, punky lyrics and giving it plenty of attitude. That's the mood I'm in - grrr!
 
 
 
For the last couple of weeks, I've been kind of running to keep up with myself. Busyness can creep up sometimes and - if I fall behind - it's hard to unbusy myself.
(Just like the run-up to Christmas. Only in June. And at this time of year, it doesn't all end in a mass of turkey and mince pies.)
Last week included the Seven-year-old's birthday (two parties - one for family and one for friends), my ten-year wedding anniversary, Father's Day, my sister's art exhibition and a local music festival. All nice things - all things I would've liked to photograph and write about individually for my blog - instead of which, they were all stuffed into a single week and zipped through at high speed. Like a pie-eating competition or something.
There were a mass of smaller, day-to-day things too. Aren't there always? The hot water broke and a plumber had to be called, seven-year-old had been promised a new (grown-up-sized) bed and ten-year-old suddenly grew out of ALL his shoes, I offered to babysit a friend's four-year-old, and then one of the teachers asked me to spend a couple of hours in school each day helping out with Arts Week (was papier-mâché-based - am still gluey!)

 

What I really wanted to do was my editing. I've got an actual agent waiting for my third draft - did I mention that? (I type it in italics...but I still don't believe myself!)
There have been a couple of mornings when I've squeeshed in some bleary-eyed editing between 5.30 and 7-ish (because that's when Jojo Moyes does it!). And there have been a fair few evenings when I've fallen asleep with my head actually inside my laptop - as if it's eating me alive. But I'm not all that confident I'm at my mental peak at these moments...because I tend to come out with words like squeeshed or terrible carnivorous-laptop metaphors.

 

Apart from the inevitable cutting - and I've chopped about 22,000 words now - actual-agent has asked me to reduce the number of characters in my story. Because if one of them dies or suffers horribly, she says my readers will need to care (and not cock their heads and go "Hmm, now which one was he? Was he the guy with the hat...or the one with the limp?")
Actual-agent is harsh but right.
It's made me realise that I've come up with a different character to suit every twist or turn of my plot - which, of course, makes them more caricature than character. I have a lovelorn boy who makes a pass at the heroine and is turned down. Another boy is devastated when he's cheated on by his long-time girlfriend. A third boy neglects his girlfriend because he's not quite ready to settle down.
So what I have to do now is to merge these three boys into a single boy who neglects his girlfriend - (this includes making a pass at the heroine) - which provokes his girlfriend into cheating on him - whereupon he realises how much she meant to him and is devastated. Do you see what I did there?



 
At first, I worried that my characters would appear to have multiple-personality disorders, but as I'm going through the process of reallocating dialogue and motivation, I'm beginning to hope that I'm making my characters more human and multi-faceted - I hope so. Real people definitely behave in lots of contradictory ways at once. I've seen them at it!
   
  

4 comments:

  1. Well you know the saying 'if you want something done ask a busy person!' Good luck with all the editing :)

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    1. Yep - a busy person is someone too wussy to ever say 'No!' (Yesterday I agreed to help organise a water fight for 30 ten-year-olds - even though the voice inside my head was saying 'NO!' quite loudly! When will I learn? When?)

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  2. Sounds like a busy month. I'm exhausted on your behalf.

    Good luck with the dieting and the agent :-)

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    1. What IS this 'dieting' of which you speak?
      Every so often I feel as if I ought to move a bit more (more than never) but I would never take it to such a crazy extreme!
      #Ihavetogoandeatcakenow...

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