That Annoying Novella

My work in progress is coming along nicely. It’s the third in a new series and involves what I would like to describe as a ‘proper’ timeslip, whereby our modern day girl Kate, slips back into certain events of Kat’s life – a girl who existed in 1885. Kate is quite a fun character, and the way I’m trying to do it, is that she’s still ‘herself’ when she slips back in time and gradually pieces together the facts about Kat’s life. The benefit she has, is that she has a certain modern day perspective, so when decisions have to be made in Kate’s life, she learns from Kat’s experiences. Or something. I don’t quite know exactly what will happen, but that’s the concept.

What I do know is that it’s doubled in size almost instantaneously – don’t you just love copy and paste? The reason I am clapping my hands and celebrating this fact is because I’ve realised that a novella I have been working on for about five years is ideal to slot into the timeslip element; or at least sections of it are. I have had a love/hate relationship with that novella, and it’s been discarded more times than I can count. The first version of it was submitted to an American publisher, who said it had potential, but could I try this, this and this. I tried this, this and this and sent it back. It was rejected, very politely, and I emailed her back and said, ‘yes, exactly. I see completely what you mean. In fact, I’ve grown to hate these characters so much I want to kill them off and turn them into vampires. Then they might have a bit more oomph about them.’ I sliced and diced bits of that novella up and Refuge took form. I was happy enough with that.

I revisited the horrible thing several times and kept moving stuff around and changing viewpoint and changing characters, and still I hated everyone. However, the big thing it had going for it, was a lovely scene on an old stone bridge and a few other things I’d thrown in that weren’t too bad and might work in a slightly different format. I am currently chopping the thing up and using the scenes I like if they fit into the new story; and with a few tweaks here and there it’s working. So what I’m trying to say is, never delete! Just hide a version of that nasty novella away in a file marked ‘Potential’; because it might come in useful!


Bridge photograph ©Malcolm Street

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