The perils of a novel in weekly instalments
Maybe it was my Charles Dickens moment; maybe hubris; or just maybe I wanted to find a way to generate posts as a relative newcomer to blogging. Whatever the motivation I found myself, as I churned out the required 50,000 words for Nano 2014, pondering an alternative which was to write a book spread over 52 weeks. I had an idea for the novel, borne out of the family acquiring a rescue dog the year before, which I thought had legs – the story not the.. anyway. But as with all of my novels to date, I had little beyond the basic idea, maybe enough to generate ten chapters; I’m an organised pantser: I start writing and see where I get to.
I moved from the nascent idea, to a fixed determination to give this a go in a short space of time. As December petered out, I began writing a few of the chapters and became confident that I could extend the story at least until Easter; after that, well time would decide.
I probably should have consulted people but I’m a great believer in having a go and not over-thinking my writing; early on I was told I needed to plot my novels and for a while ground to a halt as I struggled with this approach. The advice, while no doubt well-intentioned, merely served to prove, as I should well know already, that there are an infinite number of ways to skin a cat.
I went into my weekly work with a will (sorry, cheesy alliteration that) and, for a while, developed an encouraging readership. But by the time I reached week 15 the number of views had dropped significantly. I suppose, if I thought about it, that shouldn’t have been surprising. I was asking my readership to agree to quite a commitment. If for any reason they missed a week or two they needed to catch up and we all know the pressure on us of reading blog posts anyway. For people to go back and catch up, well that’s quite an ask.
I was also hopeful of generating some helpful criticism but that too was naïve. Nearly all my comments come from people who are supportive; they really don’t want to criticise me. A few do and mostly they are most welcome but no one had a bad word to say about my chapters. Any novelist knows the worth of well thought out criticism but the blog post is not the right vehicle.
Still, I kept at it. I reached November and Nano 2015. This was a huge undertaking for me – 30 short stories in November, each written on the day, each 1667 words long, give or take 10 either side; each a different genre, tense, pov; each based on a prompt from my readers. The novel had to stop. Anyway, by then I’d say only three or four people were still committed readers. And, in truth, I’d reached a dilemma how I was going to end it. I thought I had an ending but sometime in about September the book took an unexpected turn and that ending became otiose.
In truth, I was pleased to stop. I needed time out to think about where I wanted it to go. So, I never made it to 52 weeks. But I got pretty close and I learnt a lot in the process. Lesson one; don’t write a novel in weekly instalments on my blog!
Buster & Moo – a new book from Geoff Le Pard
Available to pre-order now – Publication date July 15th
With their relationship under pressure, is adopting a dog the best decision for Mervin and Landen? As they adapt to fit the animal into their busy lives a chance encounter with Dave and Sheri, the dog’s previous owners, develops into something more and the newfound friendship is tested to the limits.
Life is complicated when Landen loses her job following the discovery of her affair with a colleague and then she becomes involved in a police investigation into alleged money laundering and drug dealing at her old firm. She tries desperately to keep the sordid truth from Mervin as events begin to spiral out of control.
As the four lives overlap and criss-cross the one constant is their shared love of the dog named Moo. But the problems mount up. While Sheri and Mervin grow close as they struggle to help each other, it is the unlikely alliance between Sheri and Landen that leads to the dramatic climax. However, there is only room for one hero in this story – who will it be?
About the author
Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.
Find and follow Geoff
My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.
Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.
Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology that covers many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015
Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.
Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?
This will be available here from 15th July
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