In the middle of all this pre-release date stuff for Uncharted: Story for a Shipwright, I thought it would be nice to take a little break and talk about the story I’m working on—the one I mentioned a while back. The coming of age story set primarily in 1969. It started out as SPILLED COFFEE, changed to WHISPERING NARROWS, but now I think I’m back at SPILLED COFFEE. WHISPERING NARROWS seems too romancey and sounds too much like a mystery (yes there is some romance and a bit of mystery, but it’s more literary fiction with a commercial bent, like Uncharted).
The first draft is complete at 80k words and now it’s revision time. My trusted beta readers have provided helpful feedback and now I need to address the problems with the story. It’s always a challenge to know what to alter and what suggestions to veto, but when certain issues gain a consensus, there’s probably something to it. So, for the past few months, it has been sitting in the corner like a problem child—a source of vexation. I think the biggest fault with this novel is that I simply didn’t know the main character, Benjamin Hughes, well enough. I knew him quite well as an adolescent—his early teen summer of 1969 is the primary part of the story. But I hadn’t developed enough of his adult life to flesh him out as a thirty-five-ish year old character my reader can relate to in the early 1990s, when the story opens and to where it returns at the beginning of each chapter. (The switching back and forth is a trick in itself!)
So, I’ve been taking long walks lately, bringing Benjamin along. I asked him, “So what exactly did happen to you and your sister between 1970 and 1992?”
And guess what! He’s been very cooperative! In fact, he introduced me to a new character, Christopher, and cleared up some details on other players in the story. The challenge will be writing Christopher in a realistic and sympathetic way. He’s a complicated character whose idiosyncrasies will require a ton of research. I will need to handle him delicately.
Since this story is written in a male, first person POV (as is Uncharted) and deals a lot with family dysfunction (like Uncharted) it seems that it would be a good follow-up novel to publish after Uncharted, as opposed to my GIRL RUNNING novels, which have a very different feel.
A while back, I even came up with a cover idea—it may be a bit busy and I might have to scratch it, but it at least provides a pretty picture for this post! I'm also hoping that the title brings to mind the old saying, “No use crying over .... ”