Tag Archives: Redrafting

Plotting a novel escape

I once heard  novel writing described as the writer setting themselves a puzzle or trap from which they must escape. Over the past few months I have been redrafting my novel Sapphire Day, one of several in progress, and am now 30 pages from the end. That makes it sound easy. And yet I only need to buckle down and finish it.

The bad news is that this 30 pages needs a bit of work as  I seem to have switched styles. The first chapter was decided more or less five years ago. The world and me has changed a great deal in that time. For a year or so I had a new redrafted chapter but we are back at Plan A, albeit more sleek.

The good news is that there is still suspense  30 pages from the end. The story could end in a number of ways. It could be open or a neat bow.The lesson for the future is to have sorted the ending out first.

I planned to submit this redraft to a couple of publishers this week. But first I am going to have it proofread, again. I am lucky to have good support in this way.

When reading a novel, part of me wants a happy ending and part of me accepts that life is not like this, that happiness is for only  a moment, and that the key to life is in having a good many good moments.

Do you like your stories tied up in neat bows or do you like to wonder about what might still happen?

Christmas search for meaning and a chopper

Merry Christmas!Christmas Day passed in quiet excesses until I had to search snake-infested rainforest for a missing chopper….

On Christmas Eve I whipped through 45 pages of redrafting my novel, Sapphire Day, and it was going beautifully. Funny how soon you can go from this to thinking it may be best to set this novel aside. I am not being negative. I am looking at this as honestly as I can.

I may be wrong.

It may be close to ready being a perfectly publishable novel that will be enjoyed by a large number of readers. All was well until I hit Chapter 9 and realised it made little sense. Everyone of us who has read this, and edited it had missed a glaring continuity issue.

So I thought about it while I should have been thinking a little bit harder about getting the house ready for Christmas. And I found a solution but in doing so, though of an entirely new direction that could be developed later in the book. It seemed brilliant, then it seemed very complicated, then it seemed almost brilliant and then all the questions arose. If I make this character C play a bigger role what should I do with Character A. Well, I could have him go there.….No, that’s ridiculous.

I ended up housing cleaning and wrapping gifts at 1 am.
Christmas Day slid along in quiet excess. Amazing how on a modest budget, we end up again with so much.

I was at the point of trying to make myself stop reading and dozing, and reading and dozing when word came of a helicopter lost at the bottom of the road. I slipped off new blue beads and  my sweet cherry red and mint sweet cotton frock and pulled on long and very hot trousers and t-shirt and searched out the bushman repellent. I listened as the search party explained they had searched “everywhere” and were certain it was in this area, they said pointing. I immediately went the other way for it seemed too far, too high where they were saying it was,. Soon I was moving branches aside, twigs and leaves crackling beneath me. calling out to the others see if they had seen anything. I was baking hot, the fabric so oppressive, so wintry, I just wanted to peel them off.

The bushman repellent was doing the trick. There was no bushman in sight.  And if the mosquitoes screamed in, they  hit the brakes when they reached the exclusion zone.  The light was fading and we resolved to search just five more minutes and return in the morning.

Then we spotted it, a small light flashing, its yellow bodywork and rotor blades caught high in a tree. We shook the tree. The chopper stirred. We shook again. It came down. Intact. We smiled in quiet satisfaction.

I washed off the dust and sweat off the  jungle with a swim , by lights that flashed green, white, red, blue, pink, purple.

There was nothing on TV, and a movie or TIVO seemed too long, so I opened Chapter 10 of Sapphire Day. There we meet Laurence. He is a wonderful concoction and that is the problem. He is a concoction. And so there I am, a night on after solving the plot hole of Chapter 9 and asking yet more questions. Would he really say that? If I take Laurence out of the equation then I have to change here and here, and here! Do I need to do all that? Can’t I just work on him a bit? I will shake the tree and see what stirs.

Merry Christmas.