Google+ Followers

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lucky Seven

Thank you, Teresa, for tagging me with Lucky Seven! I've enjoyed locating seven lines on page 77 of my WIP, from line seven onwards. This WIP is a family saga with two main settings, a very poignant theme and hopefully quite a lot of humour. That's to say, it sometimes makes me laugh. But that might be from sheer desperation! I tend to laugh when things are really awful, so there's no guarantee that this WIP is working, but I'm having a lot of fun writing it!
Here is the extract. The story is set in 1967, hence the party-line reference. Or do party-lines still exist? And I remember our first telephone in the mid-sixties was primrose. My mother loved it!

***

The car won't start the next day and Dad takes Victor round all the mechanics and little garages in the big greasy telephone book Mrs Cramp lent us, one after another, until they find someone available on a holiday weekend. Dad doesn't like telephones. “Damned voices crackling in my ear. Bloody party-line butting in. Smells funny too,” he always says, wrinkling his nose at the damp mouthpiece.
Our telephone at home is primrose-yellow, Grandma's pride and joy. She saved the Green Shield stamps for a tiny hall-table to keep it on. It's as thin as matchwood, this bow-legged table, like an ailing old man. It would fall over whenever we brush past if the weight of the telephone didn't anchor it.

***
I'm about a third of the way through this novel, but as a result of that I am neglecting my short stories. I really miss them and keep trying to fit them in, but I'm enjoying this so much and find it easier to keep going if I work on it every day.

I have also overcome my fears of writing a synopsis, having had to produce one, together with the first chapter, for the competition with Good Housekeeping magazine. I have been sculpting the first chapter of this WIP into the best shape I can and putting off the synopsis. Then I realised I had to submit by the end of this month so was forced to write it. And I discovered a lot more about the novel as a result. It's been extremely useful, because although my short stories are pantsed, I think I do need a little bit of direction for novels. Not so much plot as a general sense of where it might all head and why, just a rough guide. That way I can still be a pantser, but within an open framework of sorts.
Compiling the synopsis has helped me think about future chapters, the possibilities for the ending and the relative importance of minor characters and the sub-plot. I feel more confident about maintaining the momentum now that the WIP feels as if it has a purpose.
I have also been helped by using the Hero's Journey. I'll post about that next time.

Many thanks again, Teresa, for thinking of me. I really enjoyed reading your seven lines and they had a truly cliffhanging quality. I can't wait to read on!

16 comments:

  1. Wow, Joanna - that is a brilliant piece. Great sense of time and I do indeed remember party lines (and Green Shield stamps)! Good luck with the Good Housekeeping competition - somehow I don't think you're going to need it with the wonderful quality of your writing xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love that extract, Joanna. And lots of luck with the GH competition. :0)

    We had a party-line way back - but our phone was red. Primrose yellow sounds so pretty.

    XX

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely extract! I remember party lines, and my mother couldn't resist butting in to other people's conversations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's a lovely excerpt, Joanna - really sets the tone and time. I remember the old party lines. Interesting what you say about the synopsis - I'm definitely beginning to think at least an outline is a good idea with a novel, although I'm usually a panster.

    Good luck with that comp!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Many thanks, Teresa, for tagging me and for your lovely, kind comments. I like being back in the sixties. The more I write, the more details I can remember of that amazing decade.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Suzanne. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the competition and luckily the results are at the end of May so it won't be a long wait. I'm hoping I'll finish the first draft by then.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Many thanks, Frances. I can remember picking up the phone and listening to a conversation when I was too young to understand about party-lines. Then I heard the woman say she thought someone was listening and I felt dreadful, like a criminal.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Rosemary. I'm glad the sixties' atmosphere is coming across. I sometimes feel as if I'm living in the the sixties these days! I've even bought an old copy of Woman's Weekly from those days and it's lovely to read as well as useful for the research into details.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looking forward to reading the rest, Joanna! Wasn't it fun to lick those green stamps and see the book fill up?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you, Joanne. I did love Green Shield stamps, especially when there were lots and lots. I enjoyed trying to stick them into the book completely straight and then count how many more we needed to be able to exchange them for something exciting. Happy days!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Joanna - can't believe the coincidence. I was at a writing friend's debut book launch last night (The Incomers) and it's set in 60s Scotland. A major thread is the party line (she calls it the pairty line). I'll be promoting it on my blog soon - think you'd like it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Rosemary, that's amazing - such a coincidence! The Incomers sounds fascinating. I'd love to read it. I'll look forward to hearing about it on your blog soon. Many thanks! x

    ReplyDelete
  13. I too was at the same launch my Mum mentions above. I think the party-line sounds intriguing - can't imagine being able to listen into others phone conversations! (and as a curious writer I think I would have been a bit too tempted to listen in for some juicy inspiration...) Good luck with your book - sounds interesting and you've done the hardest bit (synopsis - hate them too) so enjoy the rest of the process

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you, Vikki. I agree with you that the synopsis is hard and daunting. However, it made the book seem more real once I'd finished it and gave me a direction that wasn't quite there before. It felt odd to plan things when I don't normally do that at all. But now it's there, it feels like a magical couple of pages of reference - a bit like stage-directions.

    The party-line is an amazing device. I might make a bit more of it in the book later on!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Joanna, I have tagged you with the Sunshine Award, if you would like to do it whenever you are in the mood.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you, Joanne, very much for such a lovely award. I shall look forward to that. Happy Easter! x

    ReplyDelete