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My Works in Progress

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Redundant Words from the Cuckoo's Nest

Last week, I finally confessed to J that I had completed another book and the response was that she wanted me to send it to her straight away. I suspect it might need quite a bit more work on it before she gives me a verdict on whether or not it is good enough to send out to publishers. But hang on - 'The White Cuckoo' was a just masochistic tool to oil my typing fingers and knock the rust out of my synapses, so anything more than a sympathetic, slightly worried smile in my direction from her will be a bonus.

Now the nail-biting starts all over again.

After contacting J about 'Cuckoo' she gave me some quite exciting news on 'Sunlight' but I'm not counting my chickens and all that (ha ha) until they start to hatch.

Anyway I now find myself looking at the aftermath of the Cuckoo's parasitic behaviour, because I have almost 40k redundant words. I started a novel 'Doubled Lives' over a year ago, but abandoned it because it was so dull, but one of the characters was really strong and I knew I just had to use her now I had created her. I really liked the character, but hated the novel, so I abandoned the novel, but kept the character.

I then had an idea - a bad one as it turned out because it didn't really work - of telling two stories in alternate chapters, set in different times. I started 'Going Back' using two of the characters from 'Doubled Lives' in one of the story strands. Something still wasn't right, though. I just knew it in my bones - even though I was spending some very enjoyable time in the local library researching the archaeology of the area - interesting but completely off piste!

Then came the conversation with my uncle about the premature baby, and the visit to the Natural History museum late last year when I eavesdropped a conversation in the queue in the restaurant. The idea for 'Cuckoo' was sown. It wasn't long before my strong-willed character was tapping on my brain, wanting to be let in. She'd brought an odd assortment of friends and a couple of relatives with her. They are a right motley lot, I can tell you! (I really do hope you'll all get to meet them one day.)

I reworked the original idea of two stories in one and the whole thing just came together in one fantastic explosion of light and colour (or a damp squib, depending on what my agent thinks).

I've now got nearly 40k words worth of broken sentences, paragraphs, sights, sounds, smells and other bits and bobs that are left from 'Doubled Lives' and 'Going Back'.

I suspect they are just flotsam. What a flaming waste!

Any ideas as to what I can do with them?


L-Plate Author said...

Hi Annie, congratulations on the 'exciting news'. I have some too but am keeping it to myself for now...but it's great when it happens, isn't it?

I'd say keep every word you don't use as I find they always give me other ideas. I have linked my series' with minor characters in book one coming through to be main characters in book two, three and four. Some of them just won't go away. I, also like you, have redundant words sitting around. Having changed genres, I also have three novels drafted out in 8k, 25k and 40k, complete with full synopses.

I don't think anything is really wasted. The book I abandoned? I've used some of the juicier plots in book two and twisted them further.

It's all a learning curve, don't you think?

Good luck with Judith's response x

Anonymous said...

I agree with LPA; nothing is really wasted. Even if you don't use the words, it's all good practise. One day there might be so much in the "might use later" pile, that you get another great idea...

Denise said...

I bet you could get some great ideas from them, if you try not to see where they went in the previous story. Characters, bits of plot. It could be a really useful slush pile! Maybe use some of the bits for short stories instead?


Now let me think. Pondering.

Did you by any chance happen to write them on rice paper m'dear for if you did you could eat them ;-) (Sorry, TF is being a tad silly).

BTW Good luck with the novel summission. TFx

Lane said...

Not a waste Annie. You may not use them as they are but all those broken sentences, sights and smells will be useful and could be the spark to something else entirely.

'a fantastic explosion of light and colour'. What a wonderful thing to happen!

Everything crossed for you. x

Tam said...

"Quite exciting".
QUITE exciting??
Surely it's a bit more than that?
Looking forward to eharing it when you can tell us :-)

Anonymous said...

God that's exciting news!! Obviously wont be long now!!! and I can't believe you have just knocked out another novel..just like that!!! What are you? You can't be human! Wonderwoman more like:)

Pat Posner said...

Can't wait to hear the exciting news, Annie.

I'm sure all those words and characters will come into their own one day and find the right stories to live in.


Fia said...

Missed you on Sunday but hope to hear about the White Cuckoo soon.

Put those words in a 'out takes' folder. I'm sure you'll use them later.

Un Peu Loufoque said...

Nothing is wasted they will come in useful later ! Do hope your agent smiles on your cuckoo!

sexy said...



Anonymous said...

Any news yet? Waiting must be driving you insane!!

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