We sent a couple of chapters of the “Twelve Months” (Or “Subdued Eruptions”, “A Painter in Rome”) over to our new editor in NYC two weeks ago – and just received some very nice reviews and helpful suggestions! Big day, and a big milestone.
Sharing the new project with some writer friends today, the test-blurb became like this:
In this novel we follow three people over a full year of big changes and new beginnings in different areas of life. There is the established painter who goes on long travels to Italy and Rome for new inspiration, a young girl student discovering a hidden talent after a crushing heartbreak, and the stability of a good friend of the painter’s, who is experiencing growth in new parts of his steady and happy life with his wife.
A short tale of the difference a year can make, in a life.
Reflections: It’s very helpful to write a blurb. It exposes the bigger structure and things that might be missing. One thing with this project is potentially the opportunity to strengthen the storylines with more clear goals. As the draft stands now, things happen but only partly as a result of the actions of the people in the story. Which is again maybe true to life, and to reality, but it might be a better story if they work towards a defined goal. Maybe.
Cover; we just briefly played around with different versions of covers in black and beautiful and colors. The one above is the clear favorite so far, but maybe a more sparkling one could draw more attention. We’ll test a few more.
First feedbacks on the “months” novel are very interesting. As a first planned novel with lots of dialogue, a few things stand out more than they have done in the past. Some of the scenes were returned with comments, and I think we’re beginning to discover something new.. the power of showing, and the power of dialogue. When it works, it becomes like a reality and truth playing out in front of your eyes.
This is partly a thrilling experience.
The first light revision and edit of the “Subdued Eruptions”/”Twelve Months” is done!
As a learning experience and using a structured plan for novel, this has been super interesting. It felt a bit like “filling out the form” reading some chapters, but other chapters were flowing freely and read more like spontaneous and improvised writing.
For the first time there was also a lot more dialogue, which I’m warming up to very quickly. Both because it’s sometimes more easy to write about a topic as a discussion between two people, and because it’s often more interesting to read about what a character says than listening to the narrator voice. The few places in the book where I felt that I got “lost” into the scenes and forgot the bigger frame, was through the tensions and suspense in the meeting and talking between two people.
There is also a very different feeling afterwards, from the shape of this work. If you write 50 pages like a “blues jam”, just improvising from page to page, it could be a great read, but the shape is hard to grab, and sometimes impossible afterwards. Having a nice shape for the story makes a difference in the mind, and how you think about it. Which is something to explore even more in the coming works.
The book is now sent for the first feedback, considering this as an experimental book.
Some concepts that didn’t work so well was to “break” the magic of the more sheltered lives in places, and write about bigger scale politics and dangers to the cities and the country. But maybe that’s for a larger scale work, or a trilogy, or a series of books. Keeping it as a backdrop that sometimes influences the characters, and sometimes moves the whole story forward. We’ll keep it as a note to self.
Three days after finishing a story that goes over 12 months, it’s weird looking back and realize that it all happened within two weeks of writing. It’s almost like another year, a separate year, has blended into my own experience of life, and become a part of my own history. Not a real life history, but a year that was lived through from the perspective of three characters. One of which traveled for six months in Italy. That fictional trip has elements that are almost as strong as my own real memories. And some elements are of course drawn from real life experience.
Sometimes writing really is like living through a journey. From a peaceful home. All in your mind.