Writer’s Digest – June 16, 2021

Drafting this post at Cafe Balaena earlier this morning

I’m in Hervey Bay again, staying with my daughter for a week. Every time I’m up here it’s a reminder to me of how grateful I am to have a day job that allows me to work from anywhere – something I tend to forget. I’m also grateful to have a part-time day job, allowing me to schedule some writing time during the week. And, I can think of worse places to be writing.

hard at work on Saturday afternoon

This morning it’s grey and so foggy the horizon’s disappeared. I can hear the waves lapping against the rock wall, but visibility is not much past that.

Low tide in the fog

This last week I’ve gotten stuck into Alice Delaney’s story, It’s In The Stars. The last (well, the last I originally planned on writing) in my Melbourne-based chick-lit/rom-com series, it’s also the one that’s proven to be the most challenging to write. I actually began writing this during NaNoWriMo back in 2019 and abandoned it in favour of Escape To Curlew Cottage. I’ve picked it up and put it back down again more than a few times since.

When I first wrote Baby, It’s You, I had an image in my head of a rom-com series that would be a tad like if Love Actually was a rom-com series instead of a movie. Five self-contained stories all coming together at the end. Not in an airport, of course, but in some other way.

I wrote Alice’s character a few years before Baby, It’s You, and even though that first novel will never ever ever ever see the light of day, Alice, in a way, started it all. She appeared briefly in Baby, It’s You (in Ubud towards the end of the novel), and had a support role in I Want You Back and Careful What You Wish For. Now it’s her turn in the spotlight she hasn’t wanted the story to unfold in the way I’d envisaged it back in 2013 when I began writing Baby, It’s You. It doesn’t help that Alice is also the most capricious of my characters.

In the last week I’ve decided to give up trying to force her into a story she doesn’t want to be forced into and to instead go with her flow. As a result, I’ve ditched about 25,000 words and started again. Thankfully the ending I’d already written will still work…I think. Anyways, in the last week, I’ve written over 20,000 words, so I think Alice and I have reached an understanding.

I’ve set myself the target of getting this draft done by the middle of next month. It’s tight, but I have other projects backing up behind it so the date can’t slip.

That timing should coincide with getting Beach Road (or whatever it is I end up calling it…The Little Cafe On The Lake?) back from structural editing. I then have a really tight turnaround to get it in for copy editing. In the meantime, I’ve delayed beginning the conversation with my cover designer on the basis that it’s hard to agree on a cover when I haven’t landed on the title. Given, though, that I’m aiming to publish this when we’re in Queenstown (borders allowing…fingers and toes crossed) at the end of October, I’m going to have to pull my finger out and make a decision.

There are also new novels at various degrees of percolation brewing in the background. The first of these – and the first of the Philomena Barker mysteries – will be a cosy crime I’m considering publishing under a pseudonym to separate it from my other novels. Set in an antique dealership in a Yorkshire village, there’s a host of quirky characters I can’t wait to write.

I’ll be starting this one on August 1 – and you can, of course, follow the process here.

I’ve long had an interest in antiques, something I got from my mother. While I don’t have much in the way of furniture (our house is the absolute wrong style for that) I do have a cabinet full of vintage china and am always drawn to antique, junk and opp shops just in case there’s a treasure hidden away. Researching this has, therefore, been a lot of fun. Hopefully, I’ll be able to weave some of what I’ve learnt into the story.

deep in research

Behind that will be the next in the Brookford series – something I’m aiming to begin as this year’s NaNoWriMo project.

Anyways, first things first and all that. Alice is calling so I must dash. Until next time…