Monday, April 30, 2012

What I'm Working On

A few weeks ago my friend Meghan Ward said I should talk a bit about my novel --what it's about, characters, etc. Although I usually relish any opportunity to go on about myself, I was a bit surprised at the request because Meghan read one of my very early novels in a critique setting and, I am fairly certain, threw up in her mouth. (No, Meghan. Do not deny it. You were kind in your critique when you said, "Set this aside a while and work on something else." She might well have added "And read a book on plot.")

Well. How can you resist reading about my current ms with an introduction like that?

A house in Raynes Park
very similar to the one
I use in the book. 
So my current ms is actually an idea I've had for a few years. It's your standard transformative journey story, but I take my herione to England and Scotland, sprinkle in cupcakes, and add a few deuling love interests. Oh, and a ghost who holds all the answers. My herione, naturally, has to work hard and ask the right questions, and of course by the time she figures out how to do that, she realizes she knew the answers all along.

I had a lot of fun with the settings. I start off in San Francisco. Then my girl gets on a plane to London and arrives in a small town that is part of greater London, to which I've given the fictional name of Harringdon Park. This is based on the actual small southwest London area of Raynes Park. Then she goes to Edinburgh, Scotland, which is one of my most favorite cities in the world.

Right. So where does the ghost come in? 

(Cause I know you want to know about that.)

I like a bit of ghost in my stories, I do. But only a little! I don't love the ghost taking over the whole thing and mucking the thing up, because it's not a ghost story, it's a journey story and a love story. Ghosts are strictly third-class citizens here. Anyway, the ghost sends my main character some stuff to lure her over to England, where she will realize all. Ghosts, obviously, hold the keys to all knowledge since they sit in a place that traverses both conscious and sub, and they have all the mystical answers to the world. Obviously!

This book is women's fiction. There are, in my view, many veins of women's fiction. You have your Nicolas Sparks, and you have your smart, sassy ones like More Like Her, Liza Palmer's new book (freaking fantastic by the way), and clever ones like Sarah Pekkanen, and fun mystical ones like Sarah Addison Allen, and then your Serious Issue ones like Jodi Picoult.  Anyway, I like to think I fall into a category somewhere in the neighborhood of Liza Palmer and Sarah Pekkanen, but this is akin to telling you I write wonderful, sure-fire fiction of the sort that everyone loves, and it smacks of grandiosity. So I refer you to what Kristen Lippert-Martin once told me, which is that I am sassy and I write sassy stuff. I think she said that. Could be more grandiosity on my part.

But there you have it.


Meghan Ward said...

OMG that is so not true that I did not like your novel! I'm either a very harsh critic or you are super sensitive about critiques (maybe both?) I know I do tend to be a bit tough in my critiques. I think after all those years being rejected as a model I have a backbone of steel and assume everyone else does, too. And I LOVED the short story you wrote based on your dream. I think that was the last thing I read of yours before you left our "toxic" critique group :)

Meghan Ward said...

P.S. I love that there's a ghost in your story! And I've lost track of which novel this is. #3? I'll have to email you to sort all this out.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Nyet, Meghan, you were NOT too harsh nor was I too sensitive! You were CORRECT and I LISTENED. It was poo! Steaming poo! I'm talking about the Greek one. Gah! A mess, it was.

Wendy said... I feel bad that I've been absent :(

Julie Dao said...

I'm really happy for you and your shiny new project :) It's been a long time since we've chatted! I'm getting ready to boot PPP out the door (AT LAST. GEEZ), so we'll see what happens, but I think about you and your feedback all the time when I'm revising. If I'm ever lucky enough to publish (fingers/toes/eyes crossed), you can be certain your name and Don's get top billing in the acknowledgments.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Awe, poor Ghosty being a third class citizins.... (says the girl who let a five year old take over her last book... okay not quite but she exposed him to things he should have been... wait this is about your stuff sorry...)

Well of course you're Sassy - that's what your blog title tells us. *grins* Saddly, as only ever having read one book from one of the aforementioned authors, I have in no way able to figure out what your 'genre' is... Sassy works though. I can totally picture sassy.

:} Cathryn

Anne R. Allen said...

Love the sound of this book. Not totally unlike my novel Sherwood, Ltd, which starts in San Francisco, then a plane to London, then a small NORTHEAST town (close to Sherwood Forest) I have no ghost, but I do have Robin Hood :-)

Sass is good. Much prefer sass to sap a la Mr. Sparks.

Sounds like a fun book!

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