Wednesday, April 07, 2004

At the moment I'm reading a YA book by a NZ writer, Penelope Todd. The book is "Watermark". It's a library book and I was interested to see that a reader before me has gone through the first couple of chapters (with a pencil) and underlined all the multi-syllable words such as traipsed and stupefied. I don't know whether the reader was doing it because she/he didn't understand them or because they were annoying?
It's a strange book in some ways, a story of a girl who has never taken any risks and then decides to go to the West Coast of New Zealand to stay in a hut at the invitation of two people she doesn't know. She is mostly on her own, apart from the two who come and go and another man who turns out to be ... but I don't want to spoil the "surprise".
After all the stuff I have been working on since the last SCBWI conference where my novel got ripped to shreds (oh thank you ms critiquer who put me off rewriting this novel for 2 years!! but I did learn a few things) - the emphasis was on character arc and plot arc. I am much more aware of these now, and I guess for me this is where this book falls down a bit. Rather than an arc, it feels to me like a series of dips. Maybe it's like the Gantos book - the initial premise didn't work for me. Just a bit too unbelievable. And so the rest of the book never quite makes it. A personal reaction. Others will probably disagree.
Character arc. Hmmm. I am 7500 words back into a new rewrite of that novel and already the arc rears its ugly head! Time to stop and regroup. I cannot write a 40,000 word version of a novel that struggled to get below 100,000 words. So I have to replot the first half and make it into two books. I know this but I had to start the new draft before I could fully get to grips with what was going to be necessary.
That's OK. I can do this.
Amazing how much of the original material I have forgotten. I wasn't going to use the old draft but even some of the minor characters have faded so will reread it and take what I need. And the language - all those great words (this is a historical novel).
Blogs are interesting. I look at other people's and wonder what we get out of it. Like an open diary?

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