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!

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Here are my eleven questions for tagging:

1) How would you cope if you were stuck in a broken-down lift?
2) Do you suffer from road rage?
3) Which era would you prefer to have been born in?
4) What is the item of clothing you have loved wearing most?
5) Have you ever hated a holiday and why?
6) Which meal would be your worst nightmare to eat?
7) Do you like toast very brown or pale?
8) What do you do if you can't sleep?
9) Have you ever hidden when a friend knocks on your door?
10) When you sit down to write, do you keep getting up again for valid reasons, such as urgently-required biscuits? And then wonder how you ever manage to finish a story?
11) Who is the short story writer whose work you could read over and over again, both for pleasure or inspiration?

Many thanks and looking forward to the answers.