I’ve had a productive literary morning. It started with writing a new chapter for my project, which took me to the end of my notebook. I need to get on eBay to order a new one since this novel insists on being handwritten. It’s certainly different to my last one, far more introspect, darker, relies more on the suspense of disbelief.
Afterward, I decided to read the opening to a novel I wrote three years ago. One I had abandoned as ‘too hard work to get right’ after my frantic desire to write Journey. But this one required a lot of meticulous research. It’s a proper historical romance. Yes, it’s flawed, but reading it, I’ve found myself sucked back into the world of the characters. It wouldn’t take much to re-work some of the opening and have it ready for self-publishing. The only problem is that it is based on the Wentworth estate in South Yorkshire and one reason I backed away from it was that my friend told me it might upset the local community. Now, when he says the local community, I don’t know if he means the very close circle of Wentworth enthusiasts rather than the normal folk living around where I grew up. The non-fiction book Black Diamonds which is based on another era of the Wentworth estate was a roaring success, even though areas were criticised for being inaccurate. My novel, however, relies a lot on author liberty. Yes, the political and geographical aspects are all correct, but to make a romance out of it I needed to have Wentworth’s third wife get involved in his life much earlier than she would have done. There’s no document to say she didn’t… but certainly no documents to suggest she played any part in his household before their hasty marriage just before his departure to Ireland. In reality, I savvy political decision to get himself a wife of breeding age before starting a very important job. Not a romance.
I spent an obscene amount of time researching this novel, even going so far as visiting Sheffield’s archives and squinting over facsimiles of handwritten letters, and I’ve always felt like what I did has gone to waste. But the manuscript is still there; it just needs a good polishing off. So I’m going to continue reading it. Advertise for a beta reader to give me a fresh perspective on it. Might even throw it at a few lit agents and see if I get anything more than a form rejection. We shall have to see.
In other news…
New job is going well, kids all seem nice and very polite, and I’ve been invited to France for four days next weekend. I failed to book for a five-year alumni gathering at St John’s so am the ‘one who didn’t go to the party’. I am going to Meadowhall on a date instead. Cantered Misty around the stubble fields and now dreading what Leila will make me do next. Can’t do my marking of the year 7 baseline tests because I left the mark scheme at home. Only have one lesson to teach on Monday, so hard to motivate myself to working, especially when I’ve planned all my lessons up until half term (no, fellow teachers, I am not joking!)