When was the last time you received a personal letter that was hand-written and just full of news, gossip, chit-chat and a pleasure to read? I’ve discovered that the letter is an excellent device for changing the plot, introducing a twist, a surprise or just producing a few more words to propel the reader on his/her way through the magnum opus. More importantly, however, my novel needs letters and landlines to enable people to communicate, since the early chapters take place in a pre-internet age. How did we cope? What if we were late for something? Did the person we were meeting automatically assume that we were stuck in traffic and wait patiently? Or did we just make more effort to be punctual?
I can’t remember when I took possession of my own personal mobile phone, because back in the day, the office had three mobile phones and whoever was going on the longest trip, was entitled to take one of the phones – it was the one depicted here on the left. They cost over £2,000, weighed about the same in lbs and you had to drag a spare battery pack the size of a small car around with you. I don’t think it will suit my character to have one of these – “it’s just too utterly inelegant, darling” so major communication will continue to take place via landline or post until we get to Chapter Eight.
And today’s progress report …. I had a bit of a surge in penpower and managed to push through the finishing line with a grand total of 51,377 words. However, there are still ten days of novelling to go, three chapters to finish, two gaping holes in the plot, which even a year’s worth of letters lost by the Royal Mail won’t fill and an intriguing problem of how our heroine becomes an acquaintance of someone, who would not normally hover in her circles, but is absolutely crucial to the plot later in the book. Don’t pop those champagne corks yet …
The Letter from Rhetoric by Credo