Susan Buchanan has joined me today to talk WIP. Welcome Susan...
|Photo permission from author|
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my new WIP, The Dating Game (working title). I started writing this again in March 2012 after a gap of two years and eight months, when I was travelling a lot internationally for work and had no spare time to speak of. I recently self-published my first novel, Sign of the Times, and following the warm response from readers, I was spurred on to start writing again. Since then I have set up my writer’s blog, originally for readers to follow the progress of this, my second novel, but it has fast become also a place for fellow writers to check in for tips and leave comments.
The idea for The Dating Game was inspired by a friend who had joined a dating agency and some of the escapades she relayed to me. Although few of those will make it into my novel, the inspiration came from that initial chat. I quickly saw how I could combine some humorous anecdotes with my love of crafting relationships between characters. It tickles me how something as random as a chat with a friend can be the springboard for an entire book.
The Dating Game is more in the genre of chick lit than my previous work, which is contemporary women’s fiction, but it still has its serious side. I like to think of it as chick lit with less fluff.
I am now just over a quarter of the way through the first draft of The Dating Game and aim for it to be published on Amazon by the end of the year. To ensure the novel is ready, my editor will be editing the earlier chapters whilst I write the remainder. I will need to do second drafts each week, so it’s a busy time! I have a whiteboard behind my desk, where I write up scenes, ideas for characters and potential plot developments. I also have a box of ideas which I have collected over the years – seriously; it’s a huge box file which is overflowing! I also like to know the characters inside out, even stuff that I might not use eventually in the novel, like their favourite actor, city or preferred pasta type. The more I sketch the characters in my mind, the more they feel real to me and so I hope to the readers. I create a separate Word document for each character and update it daily with new things I learn about them or that they unveil to me. It’s true to say I already miss the characters from Sign of the Times. I am sure the same will be true of The Dating Game when I finish it. Currently I am trying to do 1000 words per day, or to the end of a scene and that’s working so far. I need to do at least this, as I am sure the editing will take up the last few months of the year. We had at least ten drafts before the final cut of Sign of the Times, but I think all that work made it a tighter novel.
I love the writing phase, creating the characters, making unexpected changes in the plot, or taking the novel off in a different direction to that originally intended. Today for example, I decided that the novel would no longer only be told from Gill’s viewpoint. That’s a pretty significant change and will alter immensely the rest of the novel, as well as how the readers engage with it.
The editing stage…well, I can’t say it’s my favourite task, particularly when I have to cut sections that I love, to comply with a publisher’s word count, but I enjoy it as I interact very well with my editor, who is an old friend from university. She tells me things like ‘No, you can’t call him that! Nobody called their son that back in the 70s’ and then backs it up with proof, showing me that it was the 1064th most popular boy’s name that year. Or when I unwittingly called one of my characters after a minor celebrity – what do I know about cricket? I’ve learned my lesson this time around. I am very picky about grammar and punctuation, but she is even more particular!
It’s too early in the writing process to have a full blurb, and I currently have two endings, but to give you a few hints I would say the following about The Dating Game:
Workaholic recruitment consultant Gill McFadden is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert. Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
The Dating Game will be released in Dec 2012 and will be available as an e-book from Amazon.
Susan’s first book Sign of the Times is already available from Amazon, in e-book version - http://amzn.to/GKqZGd & http://amzn.to/IYN0Fc
You can visit Susan’s blog www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk to follow the progress of
The Dating Game or for writer’s tips
Or follow her on Twitter @Susan_Buchanan