When I last blogged, I was just over a week into the November writing-a-novel-in-a-month challenge. At that time my draft was called Em the Gem - a dreadful working title that made me cringe everytime I opened up the document. So I spent a little of my precious writing time just scribbling potential titles over sheets and sheets of rough paper, until I came up with Dancing in the Dark. With the new title, I began to expand the theme, emphasising Em's love of dance and the way she saw it as an expression of her own life. Then I was away, writing avidly, with Em's backstory unfolding as she renewed contact with lost relatives and became more aware of her own identity.
Which is all a rather grand way of saying that I became immeasurably immersed in what I was writing and completed the whole 50,000 words. Not all of it will be useable - but isn't that true of any first draft? The story is not quite finished, maybe four more chapters will do it, but I haven't been able to resist beginning a little editing on the work so far. So was it worth the effort? Well, I have learnt that I can write while I keep everything else going (excluding most housework!), I can think and type away in the warmest room while others are watching television, I can be encouraged by a simple graph monitoring my progress and I benefit from linking up with writing buddies. I now feel that writing is an integral part of my life, and not just a hobby. I am eagerly planning to complete Dancing in the Dark next, as it has become my longest work-in-progress (I have three others!).
Meanwhile, there is exciting news about Losing Face. The proofs are all done, the novel has reached its final stage and I have chosen the image for the cover. I have no publication date yet, but when I do have one, I shall be shouting it from the rooftops - and probably remember to write it here, too. Although, all new ventures bring fresh challenges. With the impending publication of this first novel, I am beginning to become a little concerned about doing readings in bookshops. Can I make myself sound like a 15-year old girl? Should I try? Advice please, from any who have walked this road before me!
But, for the time being, my priorities are Christmas and all the preparations; carol singing, playing the cello, preparing for visitors, cooking, giving presents and generally celebrating the birth of Jesus.
After all, the birth of that particular extraordinary baby is the most exciting news of all.
Happy celebrations and may all your writing be beautiful,