Sunday, February 20, 2011

Al Rambles

You will have to forgive me for a long rather rambling post.

We’ve had a quiet weekend. Yesterday Deb and I went hunting for a birthday present for our middle daughter Io.
She has her 21st birthday in a few weeks. We bought E our eldest a Tissot watch for her 21st. I had kind of thought we would do the same for Io but Deb pointed out Io doesn’t wear a watch so it is a case of decisions, decisions. How do you buy something that a 21yo will like but hopefully still treasure in years to come?

To day Deb and I were going to go for our traditional run (er that would be drive. I love walking, but I don’t run anywhere) out bush, at the last moment we both called off. The weather didn’t look at all promising.

So Deb sat and knitted in front of the TV while I have spent the day writing. Or to be more precise reading over (not editing) my WIP and adding more.

I mentioned a little while ago Valentina has been causing me problems. Well I have close to 30,000 words written on her story. She was meant to be a secondary character in a sub-plot!

With my first novel Veiled in Shadows I had a similar problem. One of my readers (of a late draft) suggested that trimming a whole sub-plot including several characters would benefit the novel. At first I didn’t like the idea. But after a little thought it worked and improved the book.

I am not at such a late stage, I haven’t yet completed a first draft. Yet, I am faced with 30,000 words that don’t quite fit. So I either re-jig the whole plan, give Valentina her marching orders, or try and cram her back into her original second rate role.

So today I have rewritten a couple of chapters that sit elsewhere. It means my main characters David and Svetlana (I did post just a tiny bit about David ages ago ) loose some of their story. Or rather it moves to back-story.

Interestingly I suspect this new approach may work, adding a little mystery to David and Svetlana’s sections.
The problem I still have to work out though is I will run the risk of creating two parallel stories rather than having sub-plots that contribute to a whole.

Thanks to an endorsement of Drop Box by Kathleen Jones I have been using this brilliant piece of software for synchronising between my two PCs. It also creates an online back up of my WIP.

I had heard of it before, but I’m always a bit nervous about online storage because I know a couple of hackers and I am pretty sure they’d not have too many problems bypassing the security of Drop Box. But then it occurred to me that I am not particularly likely to be targeted and the worse that could happen is someone could ‘steal’ copies of my uncompleted WIP, hardly the crime of the century.

So I am trialling Drop Box and I suspect that with it I am very unlikely to loose any more chapters like I did the other week.

Enough rambling.

Here is a little more of Valentina’s Story
It comes just after the last extract I posted on the 11th of February.
Valentina looks for Penelope again, at first she is disappointed but then she gets more than she bargained for…

Valentina Meshcova
Berlin 1948

I looked for Penelope the next time I took the little one to the beach.
I was more disappointed than I thought I should have been that she was not there.
The week after I didn't look for her, instead I played in the water with Natasha.
As we came out I saw her sitting on a blanket next to ours. This time she wore a broad brimmed hat and a light cotton blouse. 'I should have listened to you last time.'
'You got yourself burnt?'
'It was terrible, my shoulders and arms are peeling. No, shedding or shredding would be a better description.'
'Ah well, you are being more careful now.'
'Yes, no choice really.'
'You could stay out of the sun all together.'
'I could, but I was curious to see you again.'
'A Russian soldier, a veteran by the look of you and a little German girl an odd mix. You must agree that is enough to spark anyone's curiosity.'
'Is it so strange?'
'It is. It is a lovely afternoon, would you like to take Natasha and go for a picnic.?'
'I am not misunderstanding you am I? My German is not the best, you mean a basket of food in a meadow somewhere?'
'That is exactly what I mean. Given rationing, it won't be anything very fancy but I thought Natasha might think it fun.'
'I haven't done anything like that since before the war.'
'All the more reason.'


Old Kitty said...

Oooh I do like the growing friendship between Penelope and Valentina - although I'm thinking there might be an underlying raison d'etre for Penelope's interest maybe? Hmmm!!!!!

Good luck finding your daughter a lovely treasure for her to have for her 21st! 21 years old!! Wow!!

Take care

Susan Fields said...

Happy birthday to your daughter!

Another great excerpt. Can't wait to see where this goes next!

Lisa said...

Two parallel stories would work if you can figure out some way to tie them in eventually. Or maybe you just have a 30,000 word start on your next book?!

Jai Joshi said...

21st birthday presents are special. My parents gave me a necklace that had a special meaning and that I still treasure now years later, and not just for the monetary value.

I hope you find just the right thing for your middle daughter.


Myrna Foster said...

I hope you find just the right present.

Maybe Valentina needs her own novel.

Al said...

Hi Jennifer,
Hmmmm maybe you’ve got a suspicious mind?
We still have some time for treasure hunting!

Hi Susan,
Thank you I’ll pass that on.
And thank you, I’ll certainly post more.

Hi Lisa,
There is a kind of link already. But I’m not sure if it is enough.
Great idea for another book, trouble is I already have ideas for the next two.

Hi Jai,
Yeah we’ve bought the older two special things for their 18th and E a 21st.
We have something in mind if we can find just the right one.

Hi Myrna,
Hopefully we get the right one.
Lisa sort of said the same thing.
That would really be caving in to Valentina wouldn’t it?

Lynda Young said...

Revisions are often a jigsaw puzzle we have to solve. It's funny how minor charcters demand attention.

Michelle Teacress said...

For a second, I thought you said you sat and knitted with Deb. I was picturing you in a whole new light. :)

Al said...

Hi Lynda,
Jigsaw is the word for it. Especially when you use multiple POV like I do.

Hi Michelle,
No I tend to prefer my writing to my knitting :-)