Friends, fiction and puppy dogs.
I didn’t write last week’s blog because we had company over the weekend. Two friends of ours from Spain are on an extended holiday in UK and spent four days with us. Sometimes it’s right to stand back from your routines and see life from a different angle, and the four days with our friends was like a mini break for us. On the other hand, I didn’t get any writing done and missed writing this blog.
Looking back over the past fortnight, I can say my Facebook advert has proved relatively successful, bringing me an extra 450 subscribers to my e-mail list. I now have over 1200 subscribers, which gives me an opportunity to develop something from that relationship. But where do I begin? I expect to be framing another FB advert later this month using ‘Lookalike’ audiences. Facebook consider a minimum of 1000 subscribers is necessary to make this kind of campaign work, so it will pay me to go down that route and see what transpires.
My writing has picked up again and I have now passed the 40,000 word mark, which I consider to be over halfway. I’m way behind my schedule, which should have seen me finishing the first draft last month. I usually take a year to complete a book, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll have this one finished before 2017 arrives.
I am at a kind of crossroads now, because I have to begin picking up the elements of the story and gathering in the sub-plots to bring it to a final and dramatic conclusion. I have compiled a list of bullet points as a kind of aide memoire so that I don’t leave out any pieces of the jigsaw. Although I write with MS Word, I copy everything into Scrivener, which I find extremely useful. It gives me the ability to search through my manuscript at a glance using the corkboard facility and the fact that every scene is recorded separately. I keep the bullet points in Scrivener so that I can refer to them from time to time.
One danger of writing sub-plots into a story is that you can see how some of them would make a story on their own. I’m having that problem with Vereen, my main female character in the book. She is a single mother, on benefits, mixed race and likes marijuana. She buys her smokes (spliffs, zoots) on the estate where she lives. Her supplier gets murdered, which means her source has dried up. I can see how this could develop into a story on its own, but she is connected to the main male character, Marcus Blake, a private investigator who is trying to uncover the truth behind a cabinet minister’s apparent suicide. There is no direct link between Vereen and the cabinet minister except the country of their birth in the West Indies, but there is an element, a tenuous link at the moment, that draws the two of them to the arch criminal behind Vereen’s situation and that of the minister’s suicide. That’s why I need my bullet points: to keep track of all the little clues I keep putting in.
What else is in the pipeline? A book stall at the Arundel Festival this month and a chance to sell a couple of paperbacks. The CHINDI group (www.chindi-authors.co.uk) have something planned for September and November, and ideas keep tumbling out at our regular monthly meetings.
Tomorrow is the local dog show. We will be entering our puppy, Tuppence, into the “Best Puppy” class. We expect to win of course like all puppy owners do. But will Tuppence behave or make her mum look a fool as she tries to walk her round the show ring? Who knows, but it’s all in fun and in aid of cancer research — something close to my heart. Wish me luck!