Friday, 12 August 2011

Nothing Is Ever Wasted

I’ve rambled on quite a bit in this blog about “the novel” but I thought that I would blog today on how it came to life.

The novel is a contemporary romance set in central London in the world of catering and currently has a working title of Truly Scrumptious.

It began life many, many years ago (ouch more than I care to remember), when I first started out writing. Then it had a title of Kitchen Dreams. It was intended for Mills and Boon and in my enthusiasm I quickly dashed off three chapters and a synopsis and sent it winging on its way. Needless to say it landed right back on my doorstep in a scarily short space of time and the answer was of course a resounding no. I promptly consigned it to a drawer and although I have moved several times and the folder has moved with me, it has never been opened. Even now.

In 2009, watching the final of Masterchef I was inspired by a young woman who was a private chef working in London and so my heroine was reborn. Rather than meeting her hero solely through her present business though, I decided to give them a shared past and several problems to overcome from that past when they met up again.

At that point I was in the middle of writing something else and didn’t have the time to do anything with it. From time to time though, random thoughts would ignite and I’d scribble them down.

Last August I decided that I would like to take part in NaNoWriMo, the challenge to write 50,000 words in November, which I had completed the previous year and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to resurrect my book. To help me along with way I read two books – Love Writing: How to Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction by Sue Moorcroft and See Jane Write: A Girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit by Sarah Mlynowskie & Farrin Jacobs. Both were invaluable in helping with the plotting process and by November I was ready.

If I have some idea of where I’m going I find it quite easy to get the words down on paper. I have a tendency to overwrite but I think that even if they aren’t the right words at least they are there. Having the November deadline forces you to keep going too, so by the end of November I had completed the requisite word count and pushed myself in December to have a rough first draft of 72,000 words.

To give myself another deadline, I joined the NWS with the RNA and after a break of a month began editing. As you will see from my last blog, the editing process was harder than the first part, but it has taught me a valuable lesson. I came across a jotting in my notebook today. I’m not sure where it came from so I apologise for not be able to attribute the quote but it sums up my recent experience perfectly: “Writing is a labour of love but editing is a love of labour”. Whoever said that was spot on.

It just goes to show though, that nothing is ever wasted, and even if I didn’t use the words from that very first novel, the idea was useful. One of these days I’m going to be very brave and dare myself to read that very first attempt. And when I’ve picked myself up off the floor (either from crying or laughing) I will probably throw it in the bin. It's served its purpose now after all.

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