Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Shop Girl the Writer (2)


I’m working on a novel.
This is how I do it:
I buy a floppy, A4 notebook with a plasticised cover for £3.25.
This is all the money I have so I don’t buy a new pen.
Instead I find a hotel freebie with a scratchy tip.
I think about the holiday that led me to this pen while I sip my first coffee.
Next I scribble.
I scribble ideas for the plot mixed with acute observations such as: ‘this pen is really rubbish’ and ’I’m hungry’
After a while I tell my Fiancé about my new ideas.
He looks thoughtful then says, ‘Yeah but what if...’
And comes up with something infinitely better.
I feel stupid because I’ve been at it for ages and he’s had five minutes.
On the other hand I’m delighted because the book is starting to take shape.
I’m also pretty smug I made such a good choice and said ‘yes’ to this man with all the good ideas.
‘It should be your name on the front cover,’ I say.
Eventually I begin the first few chapters.
I write in third person, trying out a new style.
It’s slow-going. There are so many temptations like twitter and toast.
I eat a lot of toast.
Finally I take the new chapters to my writers’ group.
There are mixed feelings about the style.
‘What’s the readership?’
‘It’s not supposed to be a kid’s book if that’s what you mean.’
‘Ah.’
Damn, they think it sounds like a kids’ book.
My two main characters are only 8 years old at the start of the book and the narrator comes across equally young.
‘Perhaps you should write it in the first person,’ someone else says.
To stop or to continue?
Is it too early to share my novel when so much is still undecided?
I read over the chapters in bed and decide it won’t hurt to give it a go in first person.
‘You know your readers are expecting a Shop Girl 2 sort of book,’ a friend says.
Well, here goes:
I’m not writing a Shop Girl 2 sort of book.
....
Are you still there?
I could put a shop somewhere in my story if that helps?
I mean my characters will have to buy something at some point.
Hello.... hello...?

4 comments:

Skye said...

I'm in the middle of reading your book, and I can tell already that I'll be buying as many installments of Shop Girl Diaries as you decide to write, and I'm sure a lot of others will do the same, but that doesn't mean you should pigeonhole yourself into only that style of writing just to satisfy us.

Tyler Perry, the director/writer of all those Madea movies, could've got pigeonholed into doing just those movies, but he made a deal with Madea fans. If they would support his other movies, he would periodically give them a Madea movie (I'm paraphrasing, since I can't find the exact quote). So far, it's worked for him. And he's come up with some really good gems.

You could too. Just keep stretching yourself, then look back years from now to see all you've been able to accomplish.

Shop Girl said...

Hi Skye
Thanks so much for getting my book! And for your advice. Shop Girl Diaries has relied in part on me being in the shop, which won't be around forever. I will be stretching myself but I'll take it all step by step as writing is such a challenge... It's just amazing to be able to share this journey with readers and people like you care enough to share your ideas with me!

Bob said...

In Shop Girl Diaries you flit from one style or technique of writing to another as effortlessly as a butterfly in a Royal Garden. Each day's entry brings another little twist, or technique, that leaves me all smiles from your humor and writing skills. Your portrayal of different personalities introduced in the book is a joy of discovery at every turn of the page.

Shop Girl said...

Thanks Bob! With comments like that I'm not going to stop writing any time soon. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Hope to write you another one soon! X