New Year, New Look and a Brief Glance Back

“Another year over and what have I done?” – to sort-of-quote John Lennon? Don’t worry I’m not about to give a detailed round-up of my exciting life in 2011. Apart from anything else a lot of it’s been documented here on the blog already. Suffice to say we moved house several times, we coped with illness, hospitalisation and a redundancy, as well as enjoying a lovely spring time holiday in North Berwick, attending our daughter’s wedding in September and rejoicing in the birth of our first grandchild in December. 2012 will see us move into our long-term new home and we’ve already got another spring time holiday planned.

This is my first blog post of the new year (apart from the January stones that I’m putting up each day of course) and I’ve been having a think how I’m going to develop ‘Write Enough’ this year. And in the best tradition of New Year resolutions, I’m going to give it a bit of a makeover. A new up-to-date avatar of me is the most obvious change (should be showing soon). Also, as I work fulltime and have several other writing projects on the go – two novels to redraft and rewrite and get ready for editing, my bi-monthly column for the writers’ magazine ‘Words with Jam’, a couple of competitions to prepare for, and my already published book to promote – besides the blog, I want to give my posts a tighter structure and to do a bit of forward planning.

So what can readers expect? Well, first of all, I’m going to stick, as far as possible, to Tuesday postings. The first Tuesday of the month (from next month) I’m going to post pieces on island life – to give readers a flavour of what life is like on a Hebridean island. On the second Tuesday each month I’m going to do a Rant and a Rave – i.e. I’ll do my grumpy old woman/subversive old bat thing on an issue that’s bothering me (the Rant) as well as finding something to  praise, such as a blog  or read-of-the-month, (the Rave). Third Tuesday will be a book review and final Tuesday will take the form of a monthly gossip on ‘reading, writing and other news’. In a five Tuesday month, the fourth one will be a repost of a popular blog item from 2010 0r 2011.

But before I say a final farewell to 2011, I’d just like to name three favourite literary items from last year.

Fiction book of the year: ‘Kimi’s Secret’ by John Hudspith – I blogged here about this amazing book for readers 10-100 who enjoy a rattling good fantasy tale.

Non-fiction book of the year: ‘The Warmth of the Heart prevents your Body from Rusting’ by Marie de Hennezel – a wonderful and uplifting take on ageing.

Blog of the Year: Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover http://randomjottings.typepad.com Elaine Simpson-Long’s excellent, exemplary and entertaining blog.

Now bring on 2012!

The new novel – point of view dilemma and switching off the inner editor

I am currently writing my second novel. For most of last year I was working on the redrafting and editing of my first novel and that process is quite different from creating something new. I’ve found it quite hard to change back to the, necessarily, very raw state of the writing when a novel is in the creation phase. It’s hard to stop editing and to just keep ploughing on to get the thing from brain to page. The thing is to tell the story and not to agonise and ponder over each word, phrase and nuance – that comes later.

Of course there was a whole lot of preliminary work before I even began writing this second book. I had a fair bit of research to do – more so than for ‘Change of Life’. Then there were the character biographies and the plot and chapter outlines to do. But now it’s underway.

I’m 16000 words in and already there’s been a couple of surprises.  First, a minor character has stepped into the spotlight demanding to tell her version of events. And then I had to make the hard decision, at around 12000 words, to switch the whole thing from third person narration to first person. Exactly the same thing happened with the first novel. I really wanted to have a go at third person narration this time around – but it seemed flat and lifeless. Changing to first person made it come alive. Maybe I’m just a ‘first person’ kind of girl.