WordPress has informed me that my blog is officially a year old today! And what a year it has been. I have journeyed from trying to promote writing tips, through realising I am not qualified to offer writing advice, to writing a daily novel and chatting about my family life.
Twelve months ago this point seemed impossibly distant and yet, little by little, here I am. I have 81 blog followers, I’ve posted 121 times and have had 3267 views. I’ve had as many views so far this year (4th March) as I had for the whole of March 2012. In my former life as a Data Analyst I would call that a good result with clear evidence of growth.
Of course I’m a long way from achieving the holy grail of 1000 True Fans but then I’m also a long way from producing a book worthy of them! I dug out Baby Blues & Wedding Shoes today, to see how far from finished it truly is. The first section is okay – I always start at the beginning when I do revision. I don’t always make it to the end. By the third and final section I was wincing in pain at the clumsiness and sheer awfulness of the prose. I’m embarrassed I asked friends to read it or thought it was ready for querying.
What I need is a plan.
When faced with a 116k manuscript the thought of detailed revision cripples me. Also I worry about story arc, character arc and all that stuff. However, if I assume the story is mostly okay (the friends that read it didn’t highlight anything terrible, they just didn’t enthuse, if you know what I mean?) and concentrate on tightening the prose then maybe that will be more manageable. I’m going to treat each scene (there are about 200) as a ‘Claire’ instalment and edit them as such, making sure they have a clear opening and a neat close. It feels a mammoth task but if I am methodical I might actually get to the end this time. So what if it takes another year, at least it won’t be awful. Guess I’ll be putting my self-publish cover away for a little while yet.
On the blog front my little boy has chicken pox, despite being vaccinated, so the posts might be a little bit sparse or rough this week. Today’s post is about grounding Claire back in the YHA hostels and introducing her to Derbyshire. She has about ten days before the Easter holidays (and Sky) so I might have her wander round the Dales for a while. We’ll see.
“Just yerself is it?”
Claire nodded without raising her head.
“Dorm or private room luv? We’ve got a single room as it happens. Some lass rang in a cancellation this morning.”
Claire paused, pen hovering over the form, then resumed writing. “Dorm is fine, assuming you have single-sex?” I think I’ve had my fill of men this month.
The man behind the counter tapped at his computer and assured her they did. “Staying long in Glossop?”
“Oh no, just tonight thanks.”
The man nodded knowledgeably. “Pennine Way?”
His words drew a reluctant smile. “No, I managed one leg, up at the finish. That was enough for me. I’m heading south to collect my niece.”
She didn’t add that she intended to pick off as many Derbyshire hostels as possible en-route or that her primary concern was to get away from Manchester. After leaving the Airport she hadn’t returned to the city, despite having several hours to kill before she could check into the Crowden Hostel. Instead she’d taken a detour to a hotel outside Hyde that her iPhone informed her boasted a Starbucks. It turned out the hotel also had full leisure facilities and empty rooms. It was only by imagining the look of smug satisfaction on Carl’s face if he ever found out that she stopped herself checking in for the night.
“We’re the first leg, you could always do that and say you’d started and finished. No need to talk of the middle.” The receptionist gave Claire a wink and a grin. She frowned while she tried to remember what they were talking about, then grinned back. A cheater’s version of the Pennine Way. That’s my kind of thinking.
“I might just do that, if I can get it done tomorrow and still move on Edale.”
“Yer heading to Edale? Well that’s the start right enough. Walk from here to there and you’ll be done.”
“Walk with my pack? And what about the car? No thanks. Maybe I’ll wait until I’m in Edale and stroll up the first few miles. That should be plenty.”
“You’ll be spoilt for choice at Edale: Kinder Scout, Mam Tor. You won’t want to leave.”
“Believe me, one night and I’ll be off. I need to be in Cambridgeshire by next week.”
If the receptionist thought Claire’s plans strange he didn’t let on. She was about to leave for her room when he stopped her.
“Make sure you pop by Holmfirth while you’re with us. It’s where they filmed Last of the Summer Wine. Though I suppose you’re too young to remember it?”
Blimey, that takes me back. Uncle Jim must have watched every episode and rerun. Perhaps I will take a look, put something on the blog. It might make Uncle Jim smile wherever he is.
“I will. Thank you.” Claire dug out her brightest smile for the helpful man and pulled her rucksack up onto her back. She felt a decade older than she had twenty-four hours earlier. As she bent over to counter-balance the heavy bag, Claire thought she must look at least ninety.
Nora Batty eat your heart out. All I’m missing is the wrinkly stockings. She shuddered at the thought. At least it hasn’t come to that.
Dragging her lead-filled shoes towards the stairs, Claire tried not to pine for the Leisure Hotel with the Starbucks on-site.
It’s just the hangover wiping me out. I need to feed it carbs and water, that’s all. And then sleep.