I’ve just finished the first draft of The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters. I’m convinced that was my last great idea. Even though I feel like this after every book – what if that was the last one? What if I’ll never come up with any more ideas? What if I’ll never write anything again? – this time (like every other time!) I’m convinced my well of writing ideas really has run dry for the last time.
However! In my two weeks off over Christmas, inspiration strikes. From reading a name in a book I got for Christmas, a whole story sparks in my head, and by Boxing Day, I’ve gone from worrying about having no ideas to having written a full synopsis.
Realise my fantastic synopsis is missing something. No clue what that something is. After a few days, inspiration strikes again. Find the missing ‘something’. Rewrite synopsis to include the missing something. Now synopsis is too convoluted. Try to shave it down. Now it’s an unintelligible mess. Work out that the missing something is actually the main point of the story and the initial idea is now unnecessary. Take out initial idea and rewrite synopsis including only the missing something.
If I didn’t already hate writing synopsises, I would by now.
Convinced the idea is fresh and original and exciting, I send the synopsis to my editor, mainly to stop myself rewriting the thing another six times.
As I haven’t heard back from my editor about the synopsis, I start writing the book anyway, convinced she will love my genius idea and I’ll be ahead of the game by already having chapters to show her when she undoubtedly gives me the go ahead.
Hear from editor. The story is awful and needs a complete rethink. The characters are unlikeable and have got to be changed. On plus side, she likes the setting so I can keep that. Pretend I haven’t just written the first 20,000 words and agree to her changes. Overjoyed to sign another contract with HQ, while internally screaming that I have no flipping idea what to do. I am never going to come up with something that fits in with my new guidelines.
Okay, after a week or so of panicking, I say ‘sod it’ and just start writing. Somehow, the story tells itself as I type and I blaze through the first four chapters in a week. Send them to my editor. Tell myself not to write any more until I have her approval because we know how well it went last time.
Editor loves chapters. I have full approval to carry on. I have ages left on my deadline. I spend lazy afternoons in the garden telling myself that if I write 2000 words a day, I’ll have plenty of time to spare. I roll my sleeves up, excited to get back in, and… stall. The ease of the first four chapters does not return. I stare at a blank screen and force words out only to immediately delete them because they are so awful. 2000 words a day? I’m lucky if I write 20. I wanted this book finished by the end of July, and at the rate I’m going, it will be – by the end of July 2021.
My deadline isn’t until August 31st, but August is booked up with family visiting and holidays, and I always need time to fix my first drafts before I submit them. Realise I have less than a month until I need to finish this book. I’m only 30,000 words in. Book needs to be 80-100k. No longer have the luxury of staring at a blank screen and have to force myself to write like the clappers. I completely miss the summer outside as I am chained to my computer, trying to do 5-6k a day. Exist on extremely healthy diet of Solero ice creams, frozen grapes, and several bags of out-of-date funsize Milky Ways I found in the back of a cupboard from last Halloween.
Finish first draft, missing a few scenes and in a huge mess. Have two weeks off for family stuff. It’s now mid-August and I have two weeks left before I have to hand this book in. Draft is an absolute muddle of bits that don’t make sense, things I need to look up, and words I couldn’t think of at the time and still can’t. And those scenes I struggled with two weeks ago? I’m still struggling with them now. Write the last one at 1am on August 31st. How’s that for cutting it fine?
Research next book. Try not to think about the fact my editor will hate The Little Wedding Island so much that there clearly won’t be a next book.
As next book is a Christmas book, if I’m going to write it, I want to write it between now and Christmas, so I write out a quick synopsis and send it in, convinced it will be weeks before I hear anything, and the Christmas idea is so stupid that the only thing I will hear is my editor’s groans of despair. Have heart attack when she emails within a couple of hours, offering me another two book deal.
Write one page of the Christmas book before my email pings with the revisions for The Little Wedding Island. Put it aside to do them instead. Revisions are never fun but I know these could be worse. Sulk and comfort eat funsize Maltesers that were meant to be for Halloween trick-or-treaters. Everyone agrees that if you eat five bags of funsize Maltesers, only the calories in the first bag count, right?
Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.
The Little Wedding Island:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074SD3RKH
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B074SD3RKH
Also available from all other ebook retailers.
‘Will you… pretend to marry me?’
Bonnie Haskett loves everything about weddings. She loves her job at a national bridal magazine and even has a deposit down on her dream dress. The only problem? She doesn’t have a fiancé!
So when Bonnie is sent to Edelweiss Island, known as ‘The Little Wedding Island’, it’s a dream come true. She’s heard the rumours, every wedding that takes place in the tiny chapel ends in a happy-ever-after.
But there’s a catch! Investigating the story, Bonnie needs to pose as a blushing bride – and the only man up for posing as her groom is her arch rival (and far too handsome for his own good) journalist Rohan Carter…
A gorgeously uplifting summer romance. Perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Caroline Roberts.
Giveaway: [pic attached]
The Little Wedding Island themed goodie bag:
- The Little Wedding Island notebook
- The Little Wedding Island fridge magnet
- A signed postcard
- In honour of Puffin the dog, a pug fountain pen
- In honour of Edelweiss Island, a copy of The Sound of Music on DVD
- A ‘grow your own’ Edelweiss flower kit in a tin
Click here for a giveaway