In case anyone was wondering how things were going with the various WiPs (they’re starting to pile up now), here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to.
WiP #1: Tider
Well, ‘Tider’ has languished in limbo ever since the competition ended. It’s currently sitting on my sideboard in all its papery glory, absolutely covered in two different colours of ink, where I’ve made corrections and edits. Several pages are turned lengthways-on – these are pages which I’ve completely rewritten by hand (and which I must not lose *note to self*) and lots of the typed pages have handwritten notes all over their reverse sides. So, it’s all perfectly well organised and completely foolproof. All I need is one good bump against the sideboard and the whole thing will slither to the ground in a heap of horror. I don’t recommend anyone else stores their WiPs in this manner. Every time I look at it I tell myself ‘buy some box files, fool.’ Yet, I do not.
I’m giving serious thought to rewriting the whole book, and changing it from a YA story into a children’s adventure. I’m still not entirely sure about this (hence I’m leaving it to percolate for a bit). Either way, I know I’m still deeply attached to the concept behind this story and the characters – even if they might need to slip around in age a little – but for the moment this book is parked.
The last time I took a word count, ‘Tider’ was about 150,000 words. I’m not sure what the count is now as I have yet to input all my handwritten edits. I have a feeling there’s at least 20,000 words to be cut, but I’m not sure. No matter what way you look at it, this book is a beast. But I will tame it.
WiP #2 – Eldritch
‘Eldritch’ is complete in its first draft at just over 54,000 words. It’s a children’s book about a boy (Jeff Smith) who is forced to undergo a magical test (his Eldritch Test), for which he is completely unprepared. ‘Eldritch’ deals with his first challenge in this testing process, but it turns out that there’s a catch in the test’s structure. More than just Jeff’s magical ability is under scrutiny, it seems – someone is trying to kill him, and he needs to figure out why.
*cue scary music*
I’m largely happy with it, but there are things I need to change. I need to bulk out a character, edit another character, and address the question of whether there’s enough tension and thrust to the plot. There’s also an unusual narration style which I really love, but which some of the people who’ve read the first four chapters have had major problems with. So, that needs to be looked at and overhauled.
WiP #3 – Omphalos
‘Omphalos’ is the sequel to ‘Eldritch’. It’s incomplete in its first draft at about 12,000 words. So far, it’s going well. Jeff and Joe (his stalwart, trusty friend) now find themselves in the second part of the Eldritch Test. They’re still trying to figure out what’s going on; it seems like they’re being transported between different, alien planets, but that’s not exactly what’s happening. Only the Omnipotent Author knows for sure! *mwahahaha, etc* It will all become clear to the characters as the book goes on (hopefully).
The challenges in writing this story are multifarious.
Firstly, I have a first-person narrator, which brings its own problems. However, it seems to be the natural way for me to write. I’m not quite sure why I do this to myself.
Secondly, my first-person narrator doesn’t have a clue what’s going on and has to figure everything out. Again, for some reason, I do this a lot. Clearly, I like a challenge.
Thirdly, the setting of the book owes a lot to history, myth and folklore, which is hard to describe without turning the book into a classroom.
Other than that, it’s a doddle.
WiP#4 – Necromancer (tbc)
‘Necromancer’ (I’m still not completely sold on that name) is the third and final part of the ‘Eldritch’ story. It’s in the planning and plotting stages at the moment, and will involve the boys going on their most dangerous challenge yet. As well as that, Jeff needs to face the person who’s been trying to kill him and scupper his test, and find out their reasons for doing this to him.
Hopefully, each of these books will weigh in at about 60-65,000 words when they’re completed. I hope to have ‘Eldritch’ out on the query rounds by the end of March. That’s the plan, at least.
#1 (title unconfirmed) – plotting and planning stage. Time-slip story about a modern girl and a medieval boy who are connected in a mysterious way.
#2 (title unconfirmed) – plotting and planning stage. Story about a little girl who has lost her father. As she and her mother are dealing with their grief, she realises there’s something weird about the wardrobe in her bedroom. She’s never liked it, but there’s a deeper connection between the two which she needs to figure out.
#3 (title unconfirmed) – plotting and planning stage. Story about a boy who finds a strange object which connects him to another world.
As well as all the other little flickers of ideas and tiny story-seedlings which are nestled in my brain, phone memory and computer, I have a lot to be getting on with. So, I’d better push on!
(By the way: If anyone wants to set up a support group for struggling WiPs, give me a call.)