Wednesday, 12 January 2011

New Year

Happy New Year. It's that time again - an opportunity to get out the new broom, to make a fresh start, another chance to do everything better this time around. As optimism is my default mode, I number myself among that absurdly hopeful band who make new year resolutions and one of them this year is to give more time to my blog.

The problem is that Work and Life have a nasty habit of getting in the way. Towards the end of 2010 Life got in the way big time, disrupting my schedules, so that instead of finishing The White Pearl by Christmas, I have yet again missed my deadline. Which makes me so cross I kick the cat. But now that Life is taking a backseat once more, I am up and running towards the finish of the book.

My publishers at Little,Brown UK and Berkley US have been angels, shifting publication and production dates to accommodate the delay in delivery. Nevertheless I still feel a heel about it. This throws up the temptation to take shortcuts, to reduce the number of scenes, to make them shorter, get to the point faster. Of course this kind of self-editing is no bad thing. It produces a better, pacier book. Altogether more focused. I advise all would-be novelists to practise writing a scene to a time limit because it's amazing what pressure can produce. A different part of the brain kicks in.

Finding the right balance is the difficult part, between thinking time and writing time, but my heroine, Connie, is giving me a quick rap on the knuckles. She's impatient to strut her stuff through Malaya and get out there on the bookshelves for all to see.

My other new year resolution? Not to be a slave to my characters who stomp around my head as if they own the place. I'm threatening them with a new broom!


Bec said...

Great post!
From what I've learned of writing, I've taken to adopting Hemingway's way of thinking:
"When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing you were writing before you could go on with it the next day... I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. (A Moveable Feast).

I'm currently rereading the Ivanova's story from the beginning and am thoroughly enjoying them all over again :)

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Bec,
Happy new year to you. I'm delighted to hear you are off on the journey with Lydia again. A bumpy ride! I haven't read that Hemmingway piece before but I'd certainly sign up to it. At the close of a writing day I never finish with the end of a scene or chapter. I always start the next scene, maybe just a few lines, so that my subconscious can work on it while I'm not paying attention. Then the next day the words should flow - that's the theory anyway. Doesn't always work out like that! Good luck with your own writing.

Sveta said...

Hey Ms Kate,
Good luck with writing the new book :) even if you're putting Chang and Lydia on a temporary hold. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.

Rich said...

Hi Kate,
Happy New Year! Its always great to read another entry on your blog, and I wish you luck with you new year resolution, as I would love to read more of your thoughts and insights. Also I wish you well with the Life and Work dilemma!!! Give my best to your cat. :)

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Sveta,

Thanks for the encouragement. I need all I can get at the moment, as I struggle with the end of The White Pearl. It's great to know readers like you are out there and willing me on to succeed.

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Rich,
Great to hear from you. More 'thoughts and insights' coming up on the blog! Scratch a writer and they will talk all night about writing, so be careful what you ask for. The cat is steering clear of me until I have finished my book!

jochai said...

on page of "Under a blood red sky",
the priest exclaims 'Criste Elyson' in Latin,
I think that should be Kyrie Elyson, in Greek