Jessica Norrie, entertains and informs by sharing her experiences with novel number 2 known as NN2 which is doing the round of the publishers and NN3 which is in a transitioning phase between narrators and genders. Familiar ground for most of you who write but always interesting to watch someone else go through the motions and uphill challenge ( explained eloquently) with nose pressed against the windowpane. Please head over to enjoy and commiserate…
Novel Number Two, The Magic Carpet, has been well received at the publishers – the rejections are very kind and positive. Here’s a typical one from last month:
I thought the ensemble characters were great and all clearly had their own well thought out narratives, and it was really interesting to see a novel not sit in a typical middle class setting. Unfortunately however, that being said, I am going to pass on it for the moment, purely as I feel it doesn’t quite sit in a specific genre, and as such it might make for a tricky sell in the commercial fiction market.
I’m concentrating on Novel Number Three (NN3). I’m at that stage of a first draft when I have 90k words of material (picture Sisyphus aka me heaving my boulder optimistically uphill). I know I’m going to cut at least 20k words and add some other bits as yet unknown (boulder rolls about a third of the way down). I know what the end is – in fact I have several possible endings – up we climb, Sisyphus! But I can’t decide which scene should form the beginning (watch out below, boulder coming down). Different characters keep pushing to the fore and shouting “I’m important too!” (Broadly speaking, this is good news, so up goes Sisyphus with a boulder that seems lighter today.) But there are also some characters, who meekly admit: “I know I’ve taken up a a lot of your time and energy over the last few months, but actually I’m really, er, boring. Why not delete me?” Crash! Boulder hits base camp. Injuries reported.
Although all I’m actually doing is copying, pasting, cutting, repasting, rewriting chunks of prose on a keyboard, I do feel as though I were pulling a boulder up hill. My ms has a weighty quality, just as it would if it were a paper copy. I’m tempted to print out the whole lot and move it around physically. I’m sure it would reveal both structural weaknesses and restructuring answers. The only reason I don’t is my moody printer, which bears a grudge against me worthy of any Greek god. It rattles out union rules if I so much as change the settings and 350 pages would end our negotiations for good.