Back during the Ash chaos i printed off Penderown and became to read - yes just read - well okay I couldn't just do that. Some typos were just too ghastly to let live any longer. The other thing I have allowed myself is to write up a note card for each scene - keeping it simple:
what happens (or doesn't)
I'm finding this really useful for seeing the story and allowing myself to 'just read'. I am also hoping that these cards will aid me to write the synopsis before I begin the rewrite.
With Penderown in the rough draft I also didn't write 'in chapters' just scenes so that I could break it up after where I felt it worked better and I can see the advantage of this. (This was a tip I picked up from Jill Mansell who writes this way and she writes with fountain pen sitting on the sofa in front of the tellie...the woman is wonderful).
I am pleased to say even reading the story in its raw form I can see my writing has grown. I have taken on some of the lessons learnt in August Rock and A Cornish House. The pace is good and to this point - about a two thirds through the story has kept me gripped and wondering where I got such a devious mind. So I am pleased which is a surprise because in mind mind this story had become a frightening thing that was just too terrible to live and now I can see that it's not. The break since October has allowed me to see what it is a good base it is and from it will come a good book.
Two days ago Biddy Coady, an RNA mate, came for dinner and we discussed all matter of things and at random....we'd be in full discussion of a non-writing topic when something about her work in progress hit me and I immediately jumped in with it and while working through some of my plot concerns with her she aided me with grounding the characters emotions. In short it was a brilliant evening. Do you have a writing sounding board? Does it help?
And finally, something that came out of the discussion with Biddy, how well do you know your characters before you write? It seems to me writers come in two camps on this - do and don't. I really don't know them before I finish the first draft as they come alive as the story goes on. Before I put together the synopsis I am going to do full character sheets on them to see if I can enrich the story with their character ticks - make more of the things I have discovered about them in draft one. Which way do you work?