Friday, January 18, 2013

In the mood

I have been scratting around for a book to read for a week. We have a house full of books, which includes a shelf full of novels I have garnered from secondhand shops and sales for “reading later,” and yet whatever I’ve picked up and opened, and read a few lines of, I’ve thought: “Nah…”

Then I remembered reading a book by Elinor Lipman that I loved – The Way Men Act – and I asked the local bookshop (trying to live without Amazon) if they could get me Lipman's The Pursuit of Alice Thrift. Normally they can get things the next day, but Elinor Lipman is obviously not popular in the UK and the warehouse didn’t stock the book, so I have to wait two weeks. So then I went to see a friend who also has a houseful of books (50% non-fiction – not what I was after) and roamed her extensive shelving but only came up with a book I read 6 years ago – Graham Swift’s Light of Day. It could certainly bear re-reading, so I borrowed it.

Then yesterday an old friend came for the day and brought us two books as presents. She always comes laden with books and we don’t seem able to persuade her not to. (Thank you again, D!)

I picked up one after she left and read the first paragraph and was hooked. Lovely evocative writing, and I was drawn immediately into the world and the head of the main protagonist. It’s called The Snow Child and is by Eowen Ivey. It’s exactly what I want to read right now.

My reaction to that first paragraph made me think about PLOTTING FOR GROWN-UPS again. Jane and I have finished the book except that we keep returning to the first part of the first chapter and tweaking and re-tweaking. Last week we thought we had sorted it out definitively, but then yesterday I looked at it again (after a few days off) and saw that it was wrong. It WOULD NOT DO. Oddly, I could also see immediately what the solution was.  I emailed Jane and she agreed. Everything was quickly sorted bar the very first, very short line. We discussed this at length. In the end we went with her gut feeling, not mine. My reasoning on this is that no-one is going to be put off by the first (short) line unless it has swear words in it. (And it doesn’t.) Now I look forward to hearing what you all think about that first chapter, when you eventually get to read it.

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