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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wrestling with Cat and Plot!


The best laid plans... I sat down to write this blog and after a few moments became aware of a strange scratching noise. Now given that this house definitely isn't haunted (that was the last one) and that as far as I know we don't have mice, this had to be a bad sign. One of the cats had shut herself in the Forgotten Room again. We call it the Forgotten Room because it is down the end of a corridor and it's the place we use to store things. For some reason it has a fatal attraction to the cats who will sneak in there whenever the door is open.

Looking round I saw Petra sitting neatly behind me by the radiator, looking smug. Not her then. Which meant it was neurotic Bob who would be even more demented after a night spent in solitary. Sure enough, when I went to the rescue, Bob had dug up the carpet so I couldn't get the door open. However, the Forgotten Room has french doors - if only I could find the key. Rummaging through my cupboards I finally found the spare set of keys in an envelope with lots of twigs and pebbles. No idea why they were there, but anyway... I raced around to the french door. Bob sat on the other side, looking very cheesed off. I unlocked the door and pulled. It stuck fast. I braced one foot against it, the other against the patio - and pulled. I skidded across the patio on the ice just as our neighbour walked past with his dogs. "Good morning," he said as I shot past. He couldn't help me with the door as he had a dodgy hip. Eventually my dh came back from walking our dog and between us we managed to liberate our by now desperate cat who had to be tempted back inside with choice pieces of chicken. So then it was back to the blog...

How many times have you been thinking about writing and have come up with an idea and thought: "That's a brilliant idea for a book!" and you've been very, very happy for... oooh, at least half an hour, thinking that you've got your next story all sewn up, before the glaringly obvious plot problem leaps out and hits you with a wallop? Perhaps it's just me... But I hope not because writing is a lonely enough business as it is without thinking that I'm the only one who gets myself into this sort of mess.

Yesterday my agent and editor finalised my next contract for HQN Books (hooray!) Discussions have been going on for a while but it's now official and I can celebrate! I'm signed up for another six Regency historicals for HQN which will be a loosely linked series with characters in common. Just the sort of thing I love writing. I get so attached to my characters that I never want to let them go, so now I can indulge myself. My editor emailed to congratulate me and mentioned that the Executive Editor was intrigued by my idea for an "Arctic Regency" and would like to see an outline. Great! Except this was the marvellous idea I had had a while ago and after half an hour of feeling pleased with it I suddenly saw the enormous plot problem... So it's back to the Arctic and back to the drawing board...

7 comments:

Jan Jones said...

SIX books? You mean I've got SIX to look forward to?

Wonderful. Almost makes up for the fact that before I started this book it had sparkling characters and a wonderful plot and I just knew it was going to be the most marvellous thing ever. And now I'm a chapter in and it's all going downhill already!

Jan Jones said...

Oh - and poor Bob!

Nicola Cornick said...

Bob thanks you graciously for your kindness, Jan! She recovered sufficiently to stuff herself with chicken. Must check that door before I go to bed, though, and make sure she isn't in there again!

I'm so glad you have similar problems as a writer. Not because I *want* your book to go downhill, but it is comforting to me that I'm not alone! And yes - 6 books! Assuming I can string a coherent idea together...

Michelle Styles said...

Yes, I have had this problem. It is most irritating. And I am convinced my deamon (nothing as consistent as a muse here) does it on purpose.

An artic regency sounds intriguing -- are we talking boats? Hooray on 6 books! Marvellous news.

Poor Bob. Luckily it turned out okay in the end.

Nicola Cornick said...

Thank you, Michelle. Yes, it is nice news on the HQN front. And yes, the Arctic story features a Naval expedition to find the NW Passage, amongst other things. I think the Arctic bit may be peripheral to the main story though! That is if I can get it to work at all...

Kate Hardy said...

Congrats on the contract, Nicola. And the Arctic Regency sounds fabulous.

As I grilled you on background for my Norway book, I may be able to return the favour - I've found some historical stuff on the Arctic for my latest nonfic, plus there's all the stuff on George Vancouver, so prod me on Friday when the book's off my desk and I'll dredge out my notes for you :o)

Glad Bob's OK. Byron always manages to shut himself in the spare room. When our previous spaniel did that, he barked to be let out. Byron still believes that if he's patient and sends thought waves, I will come and rescue him. (Every. Single. Time. For a dog with 8 FTCHs in his pedigree, he's utterly daft.)

Nicola Cornick said...

Thanks, Kate, that would be really interesting. I been enjoying the reading I've done on exploration of the Arctic in the 19th century.

Oh, poor Byron! I think it's terribly cute that he thinks you and he have a psychic link, though. Monty used to do that at my m-i-l's house. He'd sit there for hours without a sound and wag like mad when we finally found him!