The ingredients of a novel

February 21st, 2016

Things have changed with the first draft of the Accidental Bodyguards this last week. Up until now I’ve been writing it in a scattered sort of way, working on scenes here and there, and hoping they’d end up fitting together at some point. I didn’t really know why I was doing it – it just seemed to be the only way I could write this particular story.

Now I’ve realised what the problem was. (At least, I think I have. I might realise something completely different next week.)

It’s all to do with ingredients. Up until now, I knew certain things about the world of the Bodyguards, but I didn’t know enough. That’s why, whenever I tried to write the story in sequence, everything seemed blah. Boring. Bland. So the scattergun thing was an exploration, a way of casting my net (lots of mixed metaphors here) far and wide until I caught whatever it was I needed to catch.

At the beginning of last week, I caught it.

It wasn’t anything huge, just an idea that clicked beautifully with a whole lot of other stuff, as well as making life much more difficult for the characters. But it seems to have been the final ingredient that I needed, because all week I’ve been writing in sequence and things are starting to make sense at last. And the ‘guff’ scenes, the ones where nothing changes, are falling away with a pathetic whimper that is not at all hard to ignore. And the strong scenes, where something definitely changes, are multiplying.


Meanwhile, Allen & Unwin are planning to re-release the Hidden series with a new cover design. I’ve always loved the original Australian covers, but it’s also exciting when a series gets a whole new look, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

It’s still in the very early stages, but because people are always fascinated by the cover design process, they’re going to do a series of blog posts about it over the next few months. I’ll share them when I get them – I’m fascinated too!


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