Tuesday, May 8, 2007


My dream of having a romance novel published is still that... a dream. I have two great writing friends (one of whom has been a close friend for years and was a work colleague in a previous life) who are striving ahead beautifully. The old friend has had a full manuscript requested by Harlequin and is frantically keeping her fingers crossed. No need to be so nervous, I tell her. Her writing is absolutely wonderful. I wish I could write that well. And the other friend, the newer writing buddy has also had a manuscript requested. Her writing is very powerfully evocative, so much so that when I'm reading encounters between the hero and heroine, I feel weak in the knees - as if I was there. Her request for a full manuscript came about as part of finalling in a writing competition, not through submission, which shows there are several ways to 'get there'.

Either way, their journey has begun in earnest, and I hope to soon join them. Every day, when I check out my letterbox, I expect to see the Harlequin letter sitting there. It's giving me mail anxiety, let me tell you! And it's hard to believe it could be good news, but a dream doesn't stay alive without positive thinking.

Still, positive thinking doesn't write books. At the moment I'm writing the third chapter of my current manuscript. I've veered off the track of my usual Harlequin line: Harlequin Romance (Sweet, here in Australia), by tackling a new line: Harlequin Everlasting Love. These novels are slightly longer than the usual 55,000 word Sweets, and follow the 'history' of a romance - think 'The Notebook'. This manuscript is my first novel ever written, which I just kind of shelved. I knew I didn't have the experience and skill to tell the story the way it ought to be told. It's amazing coming back to it now, after three years and finding half of it is redundant. There is so much that isn't central to the story, or to be more precise, so much that doesn't move the story along. There are minor characters that wouldn't be missed if cut, so of course I've cut them, along with the subplots that would do well in a long-running soapie, but have no place in a 75,000 word novel.

So, I take heart in what I've learned and keep at it. Amazingly, my desire to write has only grown. The pleasure I take in it is quite addictive. Most nights I sit at my laptop fiddling - or scribbling - to my heart's content.

Tonight I have to fix the part where my hero and heroine meet again (after 18 years). I have to approach the scene with more courage. When I first wrote it, a couple of nights ago, I just had my heroine running away! She just ran out of the crowded room (an art gallery exhibition) into the night. Imagine that! I am such a coward. It was only later that I realised how I was dodging the conflict that makes novels great. Of course they have to talk, I told myself. But what are they going to say to each other? What can they say after all that time? Their history wasn't a happy one (they had a teenage love affair with dire consequences), so they both would like to avoid stirring up the broken pieces they left behind. So much to convey, and so difficult to do it just the right way...


Valentina Acava Mmaka said...

Hi Scribbly, that's lovely of you to have this blog where to share your work in progress.
Let me quote you one of my favourite writers, Virginia Woolf. She said "writing is like to walk in a dark room, with a lantern that illuminates what is already in the room."
And Margareth Atwood said that "writing has something to do with the darkness, some sort of desire to explore the darkness and with some luck, to illuminate it and bring to light something ..."
So carry on and explore life through writing and writing thorugh life... I'm sure after lots of "scribbles" and explorings we'll soon read one of your novels.
Love Valentina

Scribbly said...

Dear, dear Valentina,

You are a kind friend. Thank you for your support. I know that more than anyone, you understand what it is to want to write, and what the rewards are in being published. As you see, I am as slow at updating this blog as I am at answering your wonderful and very eloquent e-mails. You always give me much food for thought. And as always, you have put it quite succinctly here: writing is a way to explore life and vice versa. It's friends like you who guide me and hold my hand along the journey.


Valentina Acava Mmaka said...

Dearest Scribbly,
you're always kind a sensitive and insight person.
Your journey will let you discover things from a different perspective and a different eye.Sometimes you'll be amazed of what and how writing will let you "see-feel" things!
An Italian writer, Claudio Magris, said that "writing doesn't save life " - actually sometimes it does! - " but allow some moments of it to survive within the words".
That's a great deal! So exciting and so "absolute".
Sure being published gives you lots of rewards, especially at the beginning because stimulates the faith in yourself. Anyway by experience what I can say is that each book is a new challenge and always a new deal. But also this is part of this wonderful world (the one of writers). Enjoy it fully dearest Scribbly I'm with you.

Love Valentina