Friday, 11 July 2014

Selective hearing

Last Sunday the Tour de France took minutes to fly by the upper edge of my village Littleborough and by all accounts there were some 20,000 people who had passed through to line the hills and moorlands. In one weekend £1,000,000 entered the local economy.

On Monday, things were back to normal. Faces were a lot more tanned and with expressions usually seen when just returning from a holiday. I turned to my rewrites and was then tormented with one sentence, dialogue between my protagonist and a character who would sorely test him.

I'd written the sentence, the whole dialogue scene, last year and at that time it seemed right but when rereading I knew it wasn't. I'd written what I thought the protagonist would say in his circumstance but what I'd forgotten is that any dialogue needs two people. I asked myself questions:

"What does the other character want to hear and how do they interpret what's actually said? What would the protagonist say if they needed to step out of character thereby fooling his listener?"

I tried to write the sentence again and again but each time it didn't seem right so I walked away to clear my head. That evening, my husband and I watched TV and one of the characters said something I didn't interpret the same way as my husband. We used pause on Sky TV and rewound to replay it a couple of times before we both decided it would be better to watch what happened next to confirm what was meant. That one sentence gave a clue to a suspect. At that point my one sentence became even more important to me.

Do I want to deliberately mislead the reader OR does my protagonist want to mislead the listener? Where am I in what he says?

As a writer I know how my story should pan out, I've planned it, I can see the bigger picture. But, if I'm true to my protagonist then would he really do the things I, the puppet-master, would want him to do and would he say the words I think he should say? Interesting concepts...

I had to remove myself from the dialogue. This was the protagonist's story and the sentence had to be what he would say regardless of where he was in the storyline and how his words would be interpreted. I rewrote the sentence and this time it felt right.

And so I had deliberated for two days about one sentence out of thousands in my book. It seemed ironic because on Sunday the whole day revolved around a couple of minutes that whizzed by before we knew it. 


Friday, 4 July 2014

As the Tour de France passes by...

There's a lot of excitement this weekend in my local village Littleborough, beginning today in Hare Hill Park.
Rock le Parc, a concert featuring indie bands takes place this evening about five minutes from my home before the onslaught of two days of the Tour de France.

According to news and relentless surmising by everyone within a 5 mile radius, the weekends activities will mean a traffic gridlock or a 'people and bike only' zone due to numerous road closures and restrictions, none of which give too much away about what to actually expect - we will see!
Advice given has ranged from "make sure you do your weekly food on any other days," "leave your car at home," to "leave your house early if you want to be part of the crowd."

It will be interesting to actually see what happens and I hope it brings only good things to the area and not the disruption and chaos gossiped about. But, such is life in a small place.

For me, it will be a weekend of something different, a break in the norm and I could do with one, having just finished rewrites of my new book.
I'm feeling satisfied, ready for a change before I begin looking at my first two books with my publisher's future print plans in mind.

Sometimes we need something bigger than ourselves, a reason for people to come together and step outside everyday concerns, routines and perspectives. I for one intend to do so whether I'm into the whole cycling scene or not. Anything that brings sport, music and excuses for good charity events is a bonus and so I for one will be grasping the occasion.

I'll let you know how the weekend goes...