I’m behind on my author confessions … first of all, a holiday on a planet that didn’t have wifi (deepest joy), then zipping hither and thither with limited internet access (it is remarkable that so much of the UK still doesn’t get a decent signal) and then when I dipped a toe back into the social media waters, I found the waves of election rantings and ravings too much. So having confessed, I thought I would atone for my sins by catching up, and as I need more than 140 characters, atonement takes the form of a blog post, rather than a tweet.
Author confession is a Twitter based forum where authors confess stuff. It’s hosted by the wonderful J M Sullivan (author of Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles) and each month, she produces a prompt list. As well as being fun, I find it very useful as it helps highlight holes in my plot (of which there are plenty).
The story so far …
I wrote a novel during NaNoWriMo, tucked it into hibernation and am now in the editing phase, although it’s more of a complete re-write phase. And re-writing is jolly difficult, for those of us who are new to this novelling malarkey. But anyway, here are my confessions for the first thirteen days of June. From tomorrow onwards, I shall return to the confessional on Twitter.
- Set a word count or a chapter goal My goal for June is to rewrite chapter four. I’ve made some corrections, but now realise that some foreshadowing of later events are required and there are some parts that are not going to go anywhere later on, so they have to go in the bin. Killing your darlings is the hardest part of re-writing.
- Is your MC an early bird or a night owl? My main character is more of a butterfly than a feathered creature – she’s particularly good at social butterflying. And this is where the aspiration to be a literary genius comes unstuck as chick lit rears its soft, feathered head; the pen seems to have a mind of its own and spills clichés forth from its nib. The red pen is trying to strike them out … but to answer the question in terms of sleep patterns, my MC is a night-bird; drinking champagne and playing bridge until the small hours.
- Which book compares to your WIP? Well #obvs I want it to be one of the books of Daphne du Maurier or Anita Shreve, but that is still something of a distant dream. In terms of style, I did run some chapters through the ‘I write like …’ software and was thrilled to see that I write like Arthur C Clarke, although the content couldn’t be more different. Perhaps I should relocate some of the action to space? Maybe Dick turns out to be an alien?
- What makes the best baddies? There are a couple of baddies in my novel and I think that they’re good baddies because they don’t see themselves as baddies. They think that they’re carrying out a service or being democratic, but we, the readers, know otherwise. But baddies have feelings too …
- Which star sign is your MC? And an example of how #authorconfession is helping me fill in the plot holes. Until now, my MC didn’t have a birthday, so time to give her one. I think she’s going to be Scorpio, with a big sting in the tail.
- What’s the best plot twist you’ve read? Unquestionably where Max de Winter tells the new Mrs de Winter how he really felt about Rebecca. For a more contemporary answer, I’m going to go with Michael Robotham’s Life or Death, winner of the 2015 CWA Gold Dagger award. Why would anyone break out of prison the day before they were due to be released? And I’m ashamed to say, I can’t remember. I just remember it was one of the best plot twists I’ve ever read. I’ll get to re-read it in a couple of months when I get to the twenty-first century on my Gold Dagger TBR list.
- What are you reading this month? Still struggling on manfully with Jack Cox, but for fun, I’m definitely in the world of crime fiction. Just finished The Chelsea Murders (Lionel Davidson) and am about to start Someone from the Past (Margot Bennett).
- Who is your MC’s best friend? A psychiatrist – although they only know each other as friends. My MC’s secret is safe …
- Where do you get your books? As a fan of the electronic reader, I get most of my stuff from the Amazon Kindle store. If I’m buying a physical copy, I’ll usually go to Waterstones. But I also love second-hand books and so I’m often found rummaging around the bins of the charity shops or any second-hand bookshop that I encounter on my travels. And then there is our own collection. We really need to buy a library with a small flat upstairs as we are both squirrels and hoarders when it comes to books.
- Is your MC high maintenance? Oh yes, she most certainly is. Thankfully, she has substantial private funds that facilitate the maintenance.
- What do you want to improve in writing? I want to conquer the editing process. I need to know when to stop, otherwise this is going to be the best book never written.
- What’s your MC’s favourite sport? Another example that makes me think and question my MC. I hate sport, and so it never occurred to me that my MC might flirt with some sporty activity. Perhaps I’ll write a scene where she watches Match of the Day. If she were going to actively participate, I could see her opting for synchronized swimming, which would be my sport if I were that way inclined.
- Least favourite character traits. Hmmm, tough one as I love my MC and I don’t want her to have too many negative traits. I guess shop-lifting is one of them though. And maybe she drinks too much and smokes too much …:-S