The NEW WIP *drum roll*


I’m up at Faber all day today, so I’ll post about that tomorrow….in the meantime…..

Ok, after my critique recently (and my IWSG post) I’ve had to totally rethink my WIP *gulp* Thanks for all your words of encouragement on my IWSG Post, by e mail, and Facebook. Right, that’s it, I’m bucking my ideas up….rolling up my sleeves….gritting my teeth, and DOING IT!

It’s been hard trying to use the same characters and the same basic plot line to come up with a new story, but, I think I’ve cracked it. So here goes, tell me what you think. This is more a blurb than a synopsis, although, I have written a synopsis that I’ll share at a later date. It needs a bit of editing ;)

Be careful what you wish for… At the age of 40, Laura Hopwood finds herself in desperate need of excitement. The arrival of her husbands long lost brother means that again she finds herself torn between both men. Daniel, the one she’s married to, is dependable, doting, and just plain boring. Whereas Ronnie is mysterious, moody and dangerous.

But there are two things in life that Laura loves more than anything, her daughter Ruby, and the cafe she inherited from her parents. Just how much is she prepared to risk to recapture the excitement of her youth? Did she make the wrong choice 20 years ago? And will the devastating consequences of her actions mean she’ll lose everything, including her daughter, when she finds herself having to make a similar decision 20 years later?

So that’s the basics :) I have to say, at the moment, I haven’t really decided what will happen (although i have a pretty good idea!). But, I’m quite excited about it! Which is a good sign yeah?

But I do have 2 problems, so I need your advice…

1. POV Last time it was in multi 3rd person, which didn’t work. So I’m thinking perhaps I should do it in 1st person? Having Laura as the protagonist. In class they suggested Ruby, as I know from personal experience what she would be going through, but, I can relate more to Laura if that makes sense.

2. Timeline Where do I start the story? It originally spanned 25 years, but I’ve cut that down to 20 (and could possibly shave a few more years off that) Do I start at the beginning, or now when the action starts and feed in back story?

So I guess I better unveil the title…

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I wanted a strong setting. They didn’t need to be rich accountants anymore. So now, Laura & Daniel run a cafe that Laura inherited from her parents. It’s also where she met Daniel & Ronnie in the first place, so has been the central, consistent setting throughout the whole story.

So what do you think? Honest opinions and any advice much appreciated!

64 thoughts on “The NEW WIP *drum roll*

  1. I can’t really say too much because it doesn’t sound like my kind of book. But, based on the blurb/synopsis it looks like you have a wonderful opportunity to create some very 3-dimensional characters.

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  2. I like the storyline. Definitely curious about your character and the choices she’ll make. It almost sounds like starting at an action point then adding backstory would be more beneficial. Good luck getting started!

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  3. I don’t know what your original WIP story line is.
    I gather you are writing a strict romance? In the standard romance format?
    How did you do multi 3 person POV, using three individuals pov. It can be done. I hope so anyway since at the moment my Misfits uses 4 POV, in differing chapters at any rate. Why didn’t it work the first time.
    Might be easier to use e mail for this discussion.
    Using 1st POV is great for intimacy but then you have to show somehow the others’ POV I used first for my original idea – it has its challenges for someone like myself who’s a beginning writier
    timeline – good question. A friend recently had 3 timelines in her story and it worked. My story has 3 timelines but they’re not so much time lines as what happened when and each in its own chapter and POV.
    Having said all that. My idea for my story is either pure crap or brilliant :D
    Love your title by the way

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    • Thanks Sue :)

      Hmmmm, no, not a strict romance, it’s probably more about the choices Laura makes and how they effect her daughter who’ s parentage is in question ;)

      I did it in a way that you knew what all the main characters were thinking (4) and the action would go from say Laura in her house, to Ruby in hers. Reading it felt like you were watching a film, but it just didn’t seem to work :(

      My problem is that the choices Laura made 20 years ago are relevant to the story now, if you know what I mean. I think my best bet is to use flash backs some how. I know a lot of books where they chop and change between past and present though, so I guess that’s an option ;)

      Thanks honey xx

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  4. I’d agree that the focus should be on Laura. She’s the one who’s conflicted. You could do it 1st or 3rd person, whichever works better for you, but from her POV.

    The advice I’ve read is to always start in the middle of the action, or at least get into the action quickly, after introducing the main characters and setting the stage. Bring in the back story bit by bit, using it to keep the readers interested by dropping hints about what happened in the past without spelling it all out. At some point where it fits you can flashback to the past.

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  5. I may have told you this before – but writing an entire novel 1st person is very difficult. I’d start in the present and give flashbacks to the past to add tension and hooks.

    I like the premise of the novel but can’t see how Laura could lose the cafe (after all, she owns it) and her daughter if she makes the wrong decision. I also think the word ‘devastating’ doesn’t fit (unless she’s going to kill someone). ;)

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    • Yeah, see I agree Dianne, but, a lot of people say 1st person is easier :(

      If Laura decides to run off with Ronnie back to Spain (where he lives) she would have to sell the cafe, which would also put her husband out of a job and homeless. One of the decisions she has to make is whether to tell her daughter that the man who has brought her up for 20 years isn’t actually her father ;)

      In the original plot her husband Daniel commits suicide…..I’m still toying with keeping an element of that in. At the end she has to decide whether to stay with her husband or not. What would make her choose to do so? A suicide threat? ;)

      Thanks honey :) I still have lots to think about, but I’m beginning to panic lol

      Xx

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  6. Great synopsis. Liked it very much, Vikki. There’s just one thing. Re: “devastating consequences of her actions” what are the actions? Sounds exciting, intriguing, but in a synopsis there’s no guessing. You need to say what the actions are, even if they change when you rewrite. Hope you don’t mind me mentioning this, it’s just that I learned that the hard way.

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  7. I really like the sound of this, Vikki. It’s got loads of potential for conflict and for really engaging the reader. For your 2 questions, here’s my opinion (for what it’s worth):
    1. POV. How about single third person POV for the main character (Laura), but a very close-up POV from her perspective completely, really going into her mind using free indirect style. Then you could also add in Ruby’s voice, perhaps using diary entries. This would be written in the first person, of course, and could be kept short, but would break up the narrative and give Ruby’s POV as well. I used a similar technique in Can’t Live Without with a teenage character, and the diary thing can work really well.
    2. Timeline. Once you’ve planned out the overall story in more detail, I would just pick the best, most dramatic point and start it there. You can weave backwards and forwards, perhaps using date headings for the chapters rather than flashbacks, which can be difficult to pull off. Or you could start with a prologue, encapsulating Laura’s original dilemma, and then begin the story in the present. For a really good example of starting at the end, and weaving the backstory in as the main narrative, read Miranda Dickinson’s Welcome To My World. She starts off right at the end, with her character locked in a loo, and then tells the story of what led her there. Play around with the timeline – I think this is where you’ll have the most fun.
    Good luck hon! xxx

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  8. Your blurb/idea starts with the brother returning, so why not start your story at that point and feed back into what happened before. Cafes are great places to set books (my NaNo Novel is set in a cafe). Remember, once you’ve got the story you can always fiddle around with the order later. It definitely sounds like something I’d read and you’re excited so that’s the important bit. You can’t write something you’re not excited about. What do you normally write in, third person or first? Is there one you’re happier with? What do you use with shorter pieces? I would be tempted to use Ruby and Laura’s point of views. Sounds great. Happy writing.

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  9. This sounds great Vikki – especially having read some of the further tidbits you’ve given away in comments about the complexity of the story!

    I like Joanne’s ideas about POV: using diaries or letters to give that 1st person close up understanding, but having your story written from a 3rd person view perhaps. You could use letters that Laura has written to Ronnie over the years, but never posted – or even communication between Laura and Ronnie to explain their feelings for one another but their efforts to protect Daniel. You could also have Laura discover one of Ruby’s old diaries from childhood to get that perspective in there and reveal how Laura begins to see her situation from other people’s point of view, thus creating more conflict.

    Just one other thing – and this is entirely personal preference – I’m not sure I could get behind the name ‘Ronnie’ for someone who is ‘mysterious, moody and dangerous’. Though I love the name Ruby for the daughter – somehow that fits perfectly. It’s strange the connections we make with a name on a page…

    Good luck with it – you certainly sound much more fired up than you have in recent days/weeks. I can’t wait to see how you get on. And, I can’t wait to read more, so get writing girl!

    Take Care,
    Cat

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  10. Sounds an interesting idea, certainly something I’d read. I like the suggestion of close 3rd person with diaries from the daughter woven in, and I like the suggestion of starting with the present and weaving in the past. I guess I’m thinking of Elizabeth Haynes’ books as a good example of telling stories in two timelines.
    As to what would make her stay, though, staying just because of a suicide threat doesn’t sound the right decision to me, more like something that she would soon regret.

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    • Ha ha ha, now I can’t copy Elizabeth’s book Lin, she’d kill me ;)

      Ahhhhh, but there is a twist at the end where she WILL regret staying regardless of the reasons why ;) I’m not giving you EVERYTHING Lin, or there will be no reason for you to read it lol

      Xx

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  11. It looks like you’re off to a good (second) start! For the POV, I think it’s a good idea to focus on Laura (either in 1st or 3d person POV). If she is the one you can relate to the most, she should be your MC, regardless of age. In terms of timeline, starting now and feeding in back story sounds like the best solution to me. The reader will have to work out the story for himself, which is always good to involve him. Best of luck with the rewriting!

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  12. Vikki, I love the blurb on this story. I agree with some others … start in the present and weave in the past. First is harder because you can’t hop into either of the heads of the two men. However, for a story of this type … which is so personal … I’d go with first person … the concentration on her alone will make the story of what is and what was much stronger.

    Good writing !!

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  13. I’d say focus on Laura. First person would help the reader to feel her angst more, I think and would probably help you to write it. Best of luck with it and enjoy!

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  14. Without wishing to be rude, it is not the sort of book I would normally read so I cannot offer much advice. That said, it does seem like a wonderful opportunity to develop some interesting characters. Start in the present, weave in the past? Or be really brave and start in the past, visitng someone who can give visions of her future. Carve out two possible futures, but which one would she choose?

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  15. Hi Vikki. The literary agent, I’ve just been speaking to said writing a novel in the third person, from only one point of view, is the most difficult. I guess writing in the first person is easier becasue you can use your own experiences and feelings, remember how different emotions felt to you, instead of having to see and feel, and then write from your someone else’s point of view. xxx

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  16. First off, I’m glad to see that you are tackling this story again. You have a lot of GREAT suggestions here, so I think you’re pretty much covered!
    One thing I think you should remember though is that in the end the final say does go to you. Write what your heart tells you to write! When you find what that is, I think the words will fly from your fingers.
    I do love everything you’re doing with it, and the title as well!

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    • Thanks Kirsten :)

      Yes, you’re right! My fellow writers at my writing group have pointed this out to me, that, at the end of the day, it’s MY STORY lol, and that I can’t possibly follow everyone’s advice even if I tried ;)

      Thanks for the reminder though honey ;)

      Xx

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  17. Good for you….and this sounds just like my kind of book.
    Lots of good advice already….like most people it seems to me that the now of the story is the reappearance of the man from her past – everything stems from that & you can go backwards (in flashbacks) and forwards. The story belongs to Laura – other people are affected by the choices she makes but she is the one with the big decisions to make.
    Like Joanne’s suggestions about POV but it can be tricky keeping all that in place. There are advantages & disadvantages with every POV but the big plus for first person is that you get that close up intimacy AND there’s no danger of flip flopping with pov. And you could make the reader see things before Laura does if that fitted with the plot.
    I’m guessing you have already worked out what she decides & why and aren’t telling yet….interesting!

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  18. I love the conversation you’ve got going in the comments Vikki. Can I come and live in your blog please, I’d get much more writing done!

    This novel sounds really interesting. There are some great ideas being suggested but as was mentioned at the end, it’s how you feel that will make it come to life, so I suppose when you try a chapter in each style you will just know.

    The majority of my wip is written in first person. It felt the natural way for the story to go. Because there are crucial things happening that my protagonist isn’t aware of (its crime) there are some chapters slotted in that are written in third person. I think playing around with the ideas on screen yourself is what’s going to make that decision. It really has been interesting to see the ideas flowing on your blog though!

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    • Ha ha ha, thanks Rebecca….you hang out here as much as you like ;)

      Yes, definitely, I think it will definitely be a case of going with which one I feel most comfortable with :)

      Ooooo, your WIP sounds interesting. Personally I like reading stuff that is a mixture of POVs and perspectives, it just seems I can’t write it very well lol

      Thanks honey xx

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  19. This definitely sounds like my kind of novel, except, as has already been said, I’d be put off by a character called Ronnie, unless he was an east end criminal, and I don’t think that’s what you are trying to create! Again, I agree that the story needs telling from Laura’s POV. The where-to-start is interesting. My NaNo novel takes place 25 years after a pivotal incident. I started in the here and now and used flashback but I think I was wrong. I think I need a short scene from 25 years ago as an introduction and then jump straight to now.

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    • Thanks Zoe :)

      It’s set in Sowf Eas Lunden (where I was born and bred) and I think the name was inspired by my cousins boyfriend, who would now be a couple of years older than me, and called Ronnie ;) In the 80’s it was quite an unusual name round our way, and did kinda make you think of the Krays…which made him seem quite dangerous. I guess something that may of worked in the 80’s may not work now….I’ll have a think :)

      I’m considering using a piece from 20 years ago as a prologue, but, I’m jumping in at the action that’s now to start with.

      Good luck with yours, I hope you’ve been making notes from the editing guest posts ;)

      Xx

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  20. I think this sounds fabulous and I love the title. I agree that Laura’s POV would be the way to engage the reader because then they will feel as if they are having to make the decisions with her. I love stories where there are choices to be made. Have you seen the film Sliding Doors? I think the idea it plays with of choices and consequences is really useful for writers and I often cite it in my writing workshops. Can’t wait to read your book!

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  21. LOTS of great suggestions. I think you’re on the right track. Once you find the “new” path of the story, the POV will make itself known. As was suggested in a workshop, write the scene both ways and see which one works.

    I also agree about the name Ronnie. I do have a question though. If it was proven she cheated on her husband in the past and if she does it in the present, wouldn’t she be in danger of losing the business in a divorce? Did she inherit before she got married? What are the property laws where the story is set? Might give you a chance to add more tension and a much larger consequence. If she chooses her husband, maybe the “competition” of his brother brings out the bad-ass side she’s never seen before? Lots of ways you could play with it.

    Good luck!

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    • Thanks Melanie :)

      Oh no, she didn’t cheat on her husband in the past, but yes, you’re right, if she left her husband the business would be in jeopardy, if it was in joint names, but if it was just in her name and she wanted to sell it, it would mean her husband would be out of a job and homeless. I think all these things are going to be part of her final decision ;)

      Xx

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      • OR she could make it a condition of the sale that her husband remain on as a manager until he finds alternate employment. Shows she at least respects what he’s done for her even though she leaves him. If she leaves.

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      • Did think about that, but, we have our own business which hubby runs and if he had to suddenly have a boss and just be manager he’d quit. Infact, he’d rather die than have that control taken away after all these years.

        Thanks Melanie, and that’s the question….IF she leaves ;)

        Xx

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