Since we last met, I’ve bumped up to 512 total and 66 on the year. Shew! Some good, some bad, and some just so-so. Being sick in the summertime sucks, but it also means no one bothers your extended reading time. One of the books I read actually inspired me to rewrite a character in one of my stories. If you’ve been following along, I have a fully written novel draft in revision, and 2 others that are in various stages of writing at any given time. I find it difficult to focus on just one, so when inspiration hits, I pick up any of them. The main character I chose to re-write started out as college student, then a fresh college grad. I mapped out the story (which I never do), but I was really struggling with how to fit her in. Enter: last night. I decided to age her up to 30, give her an actual career/life in crisis before I sent her on the road. Magic. 6 pages poured out and I think it now makes much more sense why she’s there. I want to use a good bit of what I already had, so I just need to update the tone in parts of it to finally be able to continue. What do we think of this sample?
Emily Lang’s life used to be perfect. Ok, maybe not perfect, but it was perfect to her. She had a best-selling book on her resume by the time she was thirty, a very handsome and successful fiancé, and a big, fat advance on her next book. She was living out her every dream. The problem was, apparently someone else was living her dream too. Someone else who was younger, blonder, and now sleeping with her ex-fiancé for the past six months. Everyone had warned her not to get involved with her publicist, mixing work with pleasure was only going to come back and bite her. For two years she had been blissfully happy, and then the bite came. It snuck up on her one day when she ran home to grab lunch. The red pumps in the hallway really sunk their teeth in.
Who doesn’t love a good cliché breakup? At least now she has a better reason to be stand-offish and snarky. My favorite dialogue to write. We’ll also be saving a library y’all. So yes, I’m quite happy with this one at the moment. So stay tuned if happy endings are your thing.
Here’s some info on a few other stories I’ve been diving into. A trio of women making their own way:
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
I’ve been dying to reading this for awhile because I loved Rebecca! It wasn’t widely available, but now Rachel Weisz is bringing her to the big screen so I was able to snag a copy at BAM! I believe it was Book Riot that published the article (ok yes, I’m a bit obsessed with Book Riot. You should be too) about if you’ve seen Wonder Woman, you need to read My Cousin Rachel if you want a strong central female. The main characters are Rachel and Philip. Philip was raised by his uncle Ambrose, who takes a trip one day and never makes it back because he dies. While he was away, he met and married this mysterious ‘Cousin Rachel’. There are questions about whether his death was natural or not. Rachel is a fascinating character because you never quite figure her out. She does what she wants, when she wants. Is she impulsive, or is she just that brilliantly calculating? Philip gets caught up in her ‘charm’ and must battle his own feelings and paranoia. In true du Maurier fashion, you will really be questioning what you’re seeing. I usually refuse to see a movie of a book I enjoyed, but I’m interested to see how they play out the subtleties here because their entire point is to be open to interpretation. Besides, who doesn’t love Rachel Weisz?
Speaking of women who do what they want: check out The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Nina is a librarian that has been made redundant when her small library closes and is blended into a new multi-media center. Not able to give up her love of book recommendations, she takes life by the horns and buys a van. Her plan is to sell used books from her new roaming bookstore. Because she can’t park the van in her hometown of Birmingham, she makes the move to Scotland where the van originated and the community is in need of books. There is love, there is heartache, there is redemption and of course there is the love of books! What could be better? I’m a sucker for a book about books, what can I say? The best part of this read, was the audiobook syncing so I could hear the voice-actor’s lovely scottish accent, and still read when I couldn’t use headphones.
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë brings up the rear as the least favorite of our trio. I love the Brontë sisters, truly, but Agnes just fell a little flat for me. Although, if you really enjoyed Mansfield Park, then you should check this one out. It’s along the same lines of our long suffering heroine who inexplicably finds love in the end. These are classics so I don’t think that counts as a spoiler alert. It just never really got there for me, though Mansfield was also my least favorite Austen so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.