I must admit this week has been a bit of a struggle for words! Possibly because I took a couple of days break to finish the final read through of THE ROAD TO HOPE and therefore didn’t start writing PATTERSON’S CURSE again until Tuesday. But I think it’s more to do with a horrible, crippling thing called SELF-DOUBT.
I think because this is a slightly different kind of book to my rural romances, I’m stressing that it’s not working. In a romance I almost always introduce the hero and heroine in the first chapter and get straight to the action – their ‘backstories’ come out as they face their issues and learn more about each other. However with this book – my first attempt at women’s fiction with only a splash of romance – I’m setting up four sisters and the premise. I think because I had to introduce ALL the sisters and set the scene of them being back in the small town of Meadow Creek at their family’s motel, before I got to introduce the CURSE, I worried that it was slow. I worried that readers might not stick with me to get to the good bits. I worried that these first few chaps weren’t good enough. Basically, I’ve realised where my writing is concerned I’m a worrier.
My heart and gut tell me the book is okay – that meeting these very different sisters and throwing them back home together is interesting and will keep people reading but my brain or the little crow of doubt on my shoulder keeps shouting otherwise.
I think it also had a bit to do with chronology. I had a few things I knew MUST happen and I got them mixed up. Until I worked out the problem, I couldn’t go forward and I doubted everything. I know some writers skip back and forth, writing scenes all over the shop and then stitching them all together but that’s never worked for me. Although this time I might be tempted to try – if one sister is giving me grief, I’ll try switching to another.
Anyway the good news is that despite this being a slower week than I’d hoped, I’ve made progress and I’m finally happy with what I’ve got. I also reformatted the chapters and made them a little smaller, so now I have MORE, which looks like I made more progress than I did. Yay!
Progress thus far:
- three chaps, which means I’m now into chapter six
- 21,400 words so far
Now… just cos I love you all, thought I’d share a little of my work-in-progress (see below).
‘Okay, I’ll admit,’ Madeleine said after taking her first sip, ‘now I’m curious.’
Abigail smiled. ‘So what are we going to do about it?’
‘Maybe we should just leave it,’ Lucinda suggested, twisting the stem of her wine glass between her thumb and forefinger. ‘Mum and Dad obviously don’t want us knowing. I trust their judgment and shouldn’t we respect their opinion?’
Charlie nodded. ‘I agree. If we didn’t stumble on the cards we’d be none the wiser.’
‘But we did,’ Abigail pleaded.
‘And I for one have better things to do than spend all eternity wondering if some curse is going to strike me down dead when I least expect it,’ Madeleine announced. Abigail couldn’t tell if she was taking the piss or not, but at least she now wanted to know.
Charlie shot Madeleine a disbelieving glare. ‘I didn’t think you’d place any importance on things like curses? Aren’t they along the same lines as palm reading, horoscopes and all the other things you take great joy teasing me about.’
‘Maybe.’ Madeleine shrugged. ‘But none of those things affect me personally. This one is a “Patterson” curse. I think we have a right to know.’
Silence followed and Abigail guessed her sisters were all pondering the same thing as her. Did they have a right to know? And did she really want to know? What if the curse was something about death or bad luck or disease? She shuddered. Dad’s brother, Uncle William had died long before his time when he was caught in a rip on a family holiday to Goolwa Beach. And as Madeleine had just informed them, Dad’s aunts had died in a horrific car accident. One of William’s sons – their cousin Tim – had died at only three years old of a brain tumour. Sheesh! Maybe there really was some ghastly Patterson’s Curse.
‘So how do you plan on finding out?’ Lucinda asked. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep pestering Dad in his current state.’
‘Yes, Lucinda, thank you for that blindingly obvious piece of information.’ Madeleine tapped her fingernails on the bar. ‘We could make general enquires to locals who’ve been living in Meadow Brook forever and might know something.’
Lucinda shook her head. ‘You’ve been in big cities too long. Word would get back to Dad and he’d be upset we’d gone behind his back. Look I think we should just forget about it and concentrate on the important things, like sorting through Mum’s stuff and helping with the motel.’
‘What do you think, Charlie?’ Madeleine asked.
‘I think sometimes knowledge is dangerous,’ which Abigail guessed was Charlie’s way of saying maybe they should let this go.
‘But knowledge surely beats ignorance? Forearmed is forewarned and all.’