I’m quietly celebrating completing the first draft of my novel.  I say ‘quietly’ because I know there’s no point in getting too excited.  There is still a huge amount of work to be done.  My aim with this draft was just to get the bare story down.  Therefore, many layers will have to be added to give this text the full life it deserves.  The characters need to be revealed in greater detail and there has to be more build up to the main events.  The addition of a few side plots may also help the story along.

Beach in summer.
The beach is of great importance in this novel: ‘the sea is cool on the air, bringing a briny zest that Jenna can taste as she breathes. She spreads out her hands to make an angel from the ground, doesn’t care if the sand buries itself under her nails and in her hair. She is committed to the feel of it. ‘

I’m particularly looking forward to developing one of the characters.  She is the mother of the hero (or leading man) and is quite fascinating.  She is a widow and one of those contained people, who never reveal their inner emotions.  Instead, their misery sits in the drooping lines of their face and is occasionally fired at others through barbed, personal comments.

The security of knowing that I have completed the main story is already allowing me to write more freely.  I’ve been working on a chapter featuring the protagonist, Jenna, her love interest, Sean and his mother, Maisie.  It’s fascinating to see how the three of them interact and sets the scene for future battles.

Another character I’ve neglected is Jenna’s ex boyfriend, Dara.  He’s a dark, lurking presence throughout the book and it should be interesting to explore his motivations and why Jenna finds it so difficult to shut him out of her life completely.

Jenna’s younger sister, Lydia, currently only features briefly.  She provides a strong contrast to Jenna’s arty, dreamy characteristics, with her frank observations and demands.  I will probably add some further scenes between the sisters as their relationship reveals a lot about Jenna;  the role she has adopted as an older sibling, the wisdom and creativity she often displays.

Embarking on this second draft, I feel a lot more positive about the project as a whole.  The first draft took me a lot longer than expected to finish, but I’m just proud to have reached this point.  The last time I wrote a novel was back in 2005, so it’s quite a departure for me and just overcoming the self doubt has been a major challenge.

Now that I’ve made my way through the wordy maze, I feel as though I can enjoy the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend in Ireland.  The Spraoi Festival is on in Waterford, featuring acrobatics, a floating pianist and some giant bugs . . . I could be inspired to write a whole new story!

Photo credit: Free HDR & Photomanipulations – www.freestock.ca / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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