Rip it Up and Start Again

One of things I struggle with as a writer is revising and rewriting. When I finish something, I want to move on to another project or idea. The thought of going back to a manuscript, reading through it and working out what’s wrong never appeals.

I decided to try something different with one of my finished/unfinished projects – Two Slices of Carrot Cake. Writers tend to get wedded to their own words. It’s difficult to detach. I’m editing a book at the moment for someone else and it’s easy for me to strike that red line through unnecessary text, or see what needs to be rewritten.

Some years ago, I read an interview with the writer, Elizabeth Buchan. In it, she said when she writes a book, she writes it three times. Her first attempt gives her the ‘bones’ and from there she starts again and improves the original story. I’ve decided to try this, albeit I’ll just be writing the whole thing one more time, and not two…

The Creative Stuff

Although it seems daunting, writing the story again appeals because it’s about doing the enjoyable, creative stuff again. I know the plot, I know the characters and what they are like, how they speak and I know what happens to them afterwards, seeing as I wrote another book that featured them.

I wanted to change the angle of the story slightly too. After I wrote my first book, Katie and the Deelans, I sent it to agents. It was rejected by all of them, but I was contacted by one after I’d published it through Comely Bank Publishing, who said that he liked my ‘voice’ and was I working on anything else?

When I told him I was working on Two Slices of Carrot Cake, he said I could send it to him when I’d finished it. I did, and he rejected it, saying the ‘issues’ thing in it (eating disorders) didn’t work for him, but he did like the ‘voice’ and he thought a better idea would be to concentrate on the teenage girl using multiple personalities online and the trouble that results. Keep the eating disorder, but don’t make it the main focus.

The Flow Trap

When you try to shift the focus of a story by going back to the existing document, it’s hard. Sentences, paragraphs and chapters flow in a certain way. You get caught up in that flow – if I change this, then that won’t work, etc. If you start writing again, the existing flow isn’t an issue.

I’ve started it. I’m excited about it. I’m feeling creative once more. Keep your fingers crossed for me…

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National Chocolate Week – and Out-of-Control Chocolate Binges

sweet wrappersThis week’s it’s National Chocolate Week – no doubt the web will be awash with chocolate facts and famous name brands pushing their products on us…

I thought I’d mark the occasion by publishing an excerpt from book number two, Two Slices of Carrot Cake. My 16-year-old heroine Savvy struggles with an eating disorder. In this excerpt, she talks about walking into an office to find an open box of chocolates in front of her…

EXCERPT FROM TWO SLICES OF CARROT CAKE

And now there is a huge box of chocolates twinkling evilly at me.

According to the gospel of Moll, opened boxes of chocolates are fair game for cleaners. I worked with her once and she helped herself to two or three handfuls of them. (Thornton’s, if you are interested.)

“I’ve seen the skinny bitches who work in here,” she said to me at the time, “So I’m doing them a favour eating their choccies so they don’t get fat.”

Moll’s at least a size 24, I reckon. And she doesn’t seem to give a shit.

I glare at the box – it’s one of those ginormous ones of Miniature Heroes – my favourite chocolates in the whole, wide world. Hard to know which ones I would eat first. I put down my spray cleaner and duster, and take a handful out of the box as an experiment. I line them up before me on the desk in order of preference, from the ones I’d eat first to the ones I’d eat last (I always eat my favourite thing last):

  1. Crème Eggs
  2. Cadbury Caramels
  3. Dairy Milk
  4. Chocolate éclairs
  5. Twirls
  6. Fudge

A voice starts up in my head, “Go on, just one just one won’t hurt, lovely, sweet, vanilla chocolate, smooth caramel, chewy toffee yum yum yum,” and then I look them up quickly on myfitnesspal.

Miniature Heroes (each):

  • Calories – 53
  • Fat content – 3g
  • Sugar content – 6g

Which really isn’t all that bad after all. Less calories than a lousy apple, I think to myself and my hand hovers over those beautiful wrappers, the purples, the yellows and purple, the shiny foils of the crème eggs and the orange glint of the fudge…

I hit the side of my head with the flat of my hand, hard. It won’t be one, I’ll keep going back to the box again and again until the whole lot are finished and then I’ll have to go out to the bloody supermarket to buy another box to replace it, remembering to take out just enough chocolates so it doesn’t look brand new.

Again.

I’m just putting the chocolates back in the box when I hear a sound – the sound of footsteps and a door opening. I put the lid back on the box of chocolates and start furiously polishing a table.

“Savvy – is that you?”

I spin round. It’s Sandy – Jan’s nephew.

“What are you doing here?” I snap at him. I’m kind of embarrassed he’s caught me cleaning, but he could have caught me stuffing my face with Miniature Heroes.

And that would have been much worse.

 

Two Slices of Carrot Cake

One slice of carrot cake.

One slice of carrot cake.

Wanted: Readers.

Wanted: Readers Who Can Make Suggestions Which Will Vastly Improve This Book.

 

 

 

I started book number two last year and finished the first draft in May. And since then, I’ve filled in tax returns, written copy for a timber craft website and spent countless hours procrastinating on social media and blogging accounts to avoid doing the necessary re-write of book number two, title Two Slices of Carrot Cake.

Sighs…

Anyway, here’s the blurb about Two Slices of Carrot Cake – see what you think and if you think it sounds worth reading…

Two Slices of Carrot Cake Book is the story of 16-year-old Savannah Dunn, a wise-cracking teenager struggling with a serious eating disorder (binge eating) who disguises her issues via various personalities online.

There is the super sexy girl who is engaging with the Hollywood star of the moment via Twitter, then there is the needy teenager who keeps asking various eating disorder forums for help, and finally the girl who is having a love affair with an authority figure via a blog that is notching up the ‘follows’ by the minute…

But where is real life in all this? Real life, unfortunately, has a habit of catching up with you and when the truth gets out there a whole load of nasty repercussions, discoveries and revelations. But ultimately, real life away from the online world has a lot to offer and Savvy is about to find out why pretending to be someone else online is never a good idea…