Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Matter of Time - Priscilla Brown


What happened to 2016? Did the minutes/hours/days somehow speed up? While I consider my time management skills to be reasonable, I do have a few tasks intended for completion but undone. (Why is that cupboard still in its prehistoric mess?) I seem to have lost "time" somewhere. Perhaps I could reduce the amount of this precious commodity devoted to reading (no, this is needed for pleasure, and essential to nurture the  imagination and to escape real life); mornings spent in cafes (important for meeting friends and researching stories--see Hot Ticket below); viewing art and craft exhibitions (appreciated for the visual joy of artistic talents); travelling (new experiences, possible story locations, again see Hot Ticket).

Writers are often asked "How long did it take you to write that?" My answer has to be "I have no idea". I may be able to give the year in which I commenced the actual writing of any one story, but the characters and possibly some of the plot (my plots are not complete in advance, rather they evolve as the characters develop) may have been in my head and my notebook for some time. For me, the first written sentence may not be intended as the first sentence in the novel, and almost certainly won't be the opening sentence which will eventually appear in the published work. Months zip by as the writing progresses; since I have no definite story line until I'm into the narrative, when another idea for a situation pops into my head I usually need to backtrack to foreshadow this. More time! Believe me, I have tried to change my approach, but this "make it up as I go" does work for me eventually! Having reached THE END, the manuscript lies fallow for a while; when brought to light after an unspecified period, I then subject it to a major edit which often involves fundamental changes. And this is not forgetting the time I spend on research, a task which I enjoy.

Researching well-known novels and their authors, I discovered Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in a six-day frenzy, followed by a few months revision. John Boyne's  The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas took him two and a half days, although further drafts needed several months. Anthony Burgess completed A Clockwork Orange in three weeks, while the epic that is Gone with the Wind occupied Margaret Mitchell for 10 years. J.R.R.Tolkien needed 16 years for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, understandable since he was inventing a whole new world.

PURHot Ticket at 90k words is one of my longest novels, which I'd been tinkering with for several years. I adored Olivia and Callum, "the lady and the cowboy"; they were having such fun that in a way I was reluctant to let them go. On holiday in Darwin, I found a location for the cafe where barista Callum introduces himself to Olivia by serving her a latte with a chocolate heart on top. Sadly, the charming barista at my research cafe did not put a heart on top of MY latte!

Olivia and Callum's contemporary romance is available for 99 cents on Kindle Countdown Deals for these dates: 5-12 January; 6-13 January.

If you are celebrating New Year's Eve, have fun. And may 2017 be kind to you.

Priscilla xxx