AAaargh this editing/last drafting is hard and I’ve pulled my hamstring….but Yoga actually works!!!

In my previous post, I said I was going to start a synopsis of my first novel (Now called Dunn after the main character unless I get any better ideas) and post it here as a practice.

I’ve failed.

In fact this week, I’ve failed at most things…….

  • I failed to be sensible and tried to run at marathon pace six miles into a 10 mile run (after not doing regular runs longer than 6 miles all summer in an attempt to improve my cycling)
    • Consequence:  minor hamstring pull that puts me back to square one with run training and means I may not be able to complete my last triathlon of the year on Sunday (and if I can do the run, it will be slower than I’m happy with, and I will be grumpy)
  • I failed to be sensible and not drink too much at my friend’s party on Saturday (which was great fun)
    • Consequence: fairly bad hangover on Sunday meant that my sea swim was about 10 mins long, despite perfect conditions, because the motion made me dizzy
  • I have failed to really sit down and think about how to summarise novel one aka Dunn for a synopsis
    • Consequence: I have nothing planned out about Dunn still to write in this week’s blog and I’m going to have to wing it
  • I’ve failed to write any more of novel two (currently called Longhand as a working title)
    • Consequence: I’m annoyed at myself and a bit grumpy

What I have managed to do is edit the same two chapters of Dunn three times each!!!  And I’m still not happy with them…..

This is where I have to keep reminding myself of the mantra (I hate mantras) ‘Good writing is re-writing, good writing is re-writing, good writing is rewriting’ 

So here goes…on that note, I’m going to wing it and start jotting down a summary of my novel.  Hopefully then I can use my thoughts to develop the synopsis….completely the opposite of what I’d planned to do, but I need a break from re-writing, I can’t go running, and I’m too bogged down in ‘Dunn’ to think about the next chapter of novel two….

Dunn is about a psychotherapy cult – one of these money-making scams that often arise in The U.S.A. and sometimes spread to countries like the U.K. It’s about human vulnerability and manipulation, if I had to sum it up (which I do), and the fallibility of memory.

I first got the idea about (deep breath) 12/13 years ago, way before I met my lovely husband (well a year or two anyway).  I had a brief fling with a wholly unsuitable guy – I met a string of frogs before the lovely husband, none of whom turned into anything even closely resembling a prince (that’s as insulting as I’ll get about any of them, as that’s a whole new set of blogs…or possibly novels, and I’m sure they’d all have a thing or two to say about me in retaliation).  Anyway – the to remain nameless ‘he’ had an ex-girlfriend who had got embroiled in a psychotherapy cult a bit like this.  It was sold as a self help thing, so he told me, and sounded really scary. So I did some research into cults like this and they were disturbingly common back in the early 2000s.  There were quite a few groups around, playing on people’s insecurity and lack of confidence. The novel is based on an amalgamation of the groups that I researched.  The techniques that they used seemed to be fairly similar – based on something described as ‘love bombing’ whereby participants are rewarded with affection and attention for doing what the cult wants them to do, and punished and ignored if they don’t conform.

 I wrote the first few chapters of the novel’s first incarnation in China, when I was a TEFL teacher out there for 6 months (Yes – I’ve had a career gap before…..hmmmmm…what does that tell you!), but the novel was NOTHING like it is now….and I’m still not happy with it, despite all of my tutor’s fabulous guidance!!  (Queue calming mantra:  Re-writing is good writing; re-writing is good writing – a mantra does feature in the plot, but not this mantra.)

Image result for China

Nb. This is not my photo – when I went to China in 2005 I had an old-school camera and had to send off for prints and so I got this from an advanced ‘free to share non-commercially’ google search.  It’s on Wikipedia – thanks whoever took it.

As mentioned in my previous post Swimming, editing and writing….not bad. Could have been better my main character is called Aidan Dunn, giving the novel the name I have decided on for it.

Aidan is a young man driven by power and money – he just doesn’t have any.

That’s as far as I’ve got with the start of my synopsis!!!  But it sums him up.

He is an underdog, but far from a hero – my aim has ( in more recent incarnations of this novel) been to try to develop the reader’s sympathy for an un-heroic character.  There are reasons out of his control that have made him as he is….or are there?  The novel is written in the first person, so you only have his word for it.  He could be an unreliable narrator – we don’t know.  The plan is that you don’t know whether you want him to win or lose.  You witness him sucked in and manipulated by most people he comes across, and you would feel sorry for him, except he’s no knight in shining armour.  Aidan’s as manipulative as the next person.  But if you believe his backstory, his upbringing has made him that way.

There…. that’s my first attempt at summarising my first novel. It got me out of re-writing and I feel like I achieved something useful. I also found a blog tag box I didn’t know existed and put some search terms in it. …who knows if I can find it again. When reading some of the blogs I follow I also came across postaweek, so I will try to include that in the tagbox and put a link in, as I seem to manage one a week.

Off for a gentle float in the sea now rather than more rewriting, because it is gorgeous out there for a change.

It’s my last triathlon of the year on Sunday (VotWo at Eton Dorney), so no doubt I will do nothing on Monday (trains and sleeping as I’m meant to be doing the standard distance if my leg holds out), but then I have nothing to use as an excuse (much!).  I decided to try Vinyasa yoga to stretch out my grumpy bits, and it does seem to have actually worked (I am a dreadful cynic when I don’t want to do something, but there was lots of dynamic stretching and not too much lying around breathing – which is not my cup of tea) so fingers crossed my tight hips/bottom/hamstrings will loosen up and stop giving me grief.  If not I’ll have absolutely no excuse for not doing loads next week!

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