So anyways, my new manuscript, Big Girls Don’t Cry, left home the other day. I sent it off with a great big gulp of ‘is it ok?’ It’s now time for Nicola at ebookedit to wave her editorial magic wand over it.
I was so proud with the way that Baby turned out, and this is so different, that I’m more than a little worried about what Nicola will think about it. Is the story really ok? Are the characters strong? Do they do what they need to do? What about the voice? Is that ok?
Despite this self-doubt that I’m indulging myself in, I like this story- I really like this story. It’s one that I wrote before Baby, It’s You- all the way back at the end of 2012. It’s also the fastest book I’ve ever written- just 8 weeks for the first draft. Baby seemed more right as a first venture into the world of indie publishing…but I really like this story. I already said that…didn’t I?
I even liked it as it was spewing out of my head and onto the keyboard. With this one, there was no getting stuck in the saggy middle. Possibly this is because I wrote the start:
I wasn’t there the day my baby sister’s pram rolled onto the tracks in front of the 7.25am express to the city…
then I wrote the finish, and then I worked backwards.
When I got to the middle I stopped and went back to the start- working forwards from there until I met what I’d already met in the middle. It’s not something I did deliberately, but it worked.
It’s based on a project management technique- work from the back, highlighting the critical path and dependencies and constantly asking ‘what would have to have happened to get us to here?’ I wrote about that process here and also here. Oh, and that first sentence didn’t make it through the third re-write.
My point is, this book wasn’t written using any standard framework. But then, Big Girls Don’t Cry is not a standard love story, and my lead character, Abby Brentnall, is not your standard romcom heroine.
She’s a very different character to Em in Baby, It’s You. Abby is strong, capable, wilfully self-reliant, fearless and damaged. There’s a lot not to like about Abby- she can be a hard person to get to know- yet I found it scarily easy to get into her head…I’m not sure what that says about me.
And my male lead? I couldn’t have written a character more unlike Josh Booth (my lead in Baby, It’s You) if I’d tried. And I didn’t, not really…try that is. Brad Ingram just sort of developed that way. He’s stable, practical, loyal, and has a ute and a dog. Brad’s the sort of guy that you just know will be there beyond bin night. I absolutely fell for Brad. Big time.
As for the story itself?
I won’t tell you too much about that just yet. Until I get the structural report back from Nicola, I’m not sure what will stay and what will end up in the outtakes. I have my fingers crossed that she likes it as much as I do.