I haven’t responded to a Sunday Circle in a while (an initiative of Peter M Ball, see here) because I haven’t felt the time to post has been worth it. But since the toddler is out in the garden doing things with dad, and I’m about to embark on a BIG PROJECT, today is one of those days.

What am I working on this week?

I’m starting the next contemporary women’s fiction novel this week. That means about two months of grinding out the words of the first draft, about 2000 per day so that I can finish it before the end of March, and have a good month to rest it before editing. At the same time, I’m working on my PhD confirmation presentation (just submitted all the documents last week) and the next chapter of the thesis, so I have to be organised. Lots of index cards planning and working at night whenever I can.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve just finished It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. An amazing book. Heavier than my next project (just a little) but a truly surprising book, and a careful balance of romance and seriousness. I have to try to do the same. I’m also into Yellowlees Douglas’s How Neuroscience Can Make You a Better Writer. The book focuses on non-fiction, but it dovetails nicely with my PhD research into the neuroscience of narrative and reading, and what makes engaging texts. Attempting to transfer and marry up where the principles in that book apply to fiction. My PhD novel first draft is finished (but is awful) so I’m resting it and letting all the research percolate until I need to revise. I’m going to be thinking and applying it to my next commercial book, though.

What part of my project am I avoiding?

Resolving the ‘B’ story in my new book. I have the ‘A’ story down for my protagonist, but the history behind the accompanying characters is loose and dark. Need to firm and illuminate so I don’t dig myself into a hole.


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