Â Here are the fruits of my laboursÂ of approximately the past six weeks — about 12,300 words in two sections. That’s about 12-15% of a whole novel by a rough estimation so I’m reasonably pleased with the amount I’ve done. The longer piece (working title ‘Bird and Baby’) is the more revised and redrafted of the two. It’s taken an awful lot of hours to produce that. The other one could probably benefit from a couple more redrafts.
Taken together, they give a reasonably good overview of the characters in the novel — the five principal characters are all featured between the two pieces. The two are fairly contemporaneous in terms of plot sequence too. I would probablyÂ divide the longer piece and use the shorter one to intercutÂ it. Â
In both I’ve tried to combine some character exposition with plot development. In ‘Bird and Baby’ I’ve also tried to reveal my character Robert Cross’s political views (I’ve actually made him a secret lefty) so I go into his opinions on things as weighty as the Iraq war. Hopefully the political exposition isn’t too tedious as I’ve brought in other characters and plot elements.
I found that this section expanded enormously as I was writing it — almost in the fabled way that writers talk about when they say characters take over. I threw in a few chance meetings to break up the scene and found that the interaction with the characters created whole new scenes I’d not anticipated. The same happened with a pair of shoes.
There’s a bit of self-reflexiveness in that there’s a fair amount that discusses writing and the English language — and there’s also a bit of a rant about getting published.
A read of the latest synopsis shouldÂ hopefully give some context to these two sections. Â This first (‘Bird and Baby’) comes when Sally has got to know Robert Cross (the minister) reasonably well in her subterfuge as a supposed wine-writer. She’s arranged to meet him in Oxford when he’s doing constituency business so she can hopefully try to press him on his political views. She starts the novel as a committed enemy — the references to the demonstration outside the Oxford Union and the aggressive woman are to SallyÂ as aÂ political agitator — she was the tormentor but is trying to keep thatÂ hidden.
SallyÂ is also responsible for having started a rumour that Cross is having a sexual affair with Ana. This has reached the press, via her political contacts. The story is just starting to break in the second section — Wendover Station.
Spot the carefully hidden references to Nancy Sinatra and Little Richard.
Click here to read ‘Bird and Baby’ (9,024 words): Bird and Baby — v44Â — featuring Sally, Robert and Ana
Click here to read ‘Wendover Station’ (3,323 words): Wendover Station v12Â — featuring Frances and Declan
The letter referred to in ‘Bird and Baby’ really exists and is exactly in the place described. I referred to my own photo when I was writing about it.
Should anyone have any comments then it’s possible to add them to the end of this blog post. I can also mail Word files if anyone’s really keen to suggest any changes.