Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Notes from a Kitchen Table

This month, the novel project has started to take on a life of it’s own. 

Having finished the breakdown of what happens scene by scene in the first draft of my book in a spreadsheet (which felt intuitively wrong­ – I am not an accountant) I then extracted the scenes and fleshed them out into page by page scene sheets (in Word, I confess). From that basis, I then fleshed out the structure, moved scenes around and had a working plot document. From this 67-page monster, I wrote a six-page synopsis.

Then, I turned for advice.

I have only shown the work-in-progress to one close friend so far, and as a reader, she has an astute pair of eyes. I felt it was time to litmus test the plot again. I cannot work in solitary confinement. Like many writers, at times, I turn to (constructively) critical friends for help.

I sent the synopsis on to a friend who is a literary scout and got her reactions to it. She gave the same feedback as my reader had given in February this year - namely, to add a whole other layer and dimension to the book. Welcome feedback, in one sense. In another, it adds a lot more workload to the project.

Back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, I have had my first piece of criticism published since my pre-kids days of reviewing poetry for the PN Review. I had the pleasure of reviewing COSTA shortlisted, and Man Booker Longlisted THE LAST HUNDRED DAYS by Patrick McGuinness for the current issue of the New Welsh Review. In this quarter's offering, I also read with interest an article by Rhian Jones on the state of publishing in the digital age, where she looks at how the publishing industry has learnt from the music industries mistakes and successes when dealing with digitisation of content.

Lastly, I have subscribed to the relatively new Cardiff-based literary magazine, The Raconteur. Anticipating my hot-off-the-press copy of AMERICA. Check it out!

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