Thursday, 7 February 2013

Redemption

I am now about one third of the way through the draft of my latest opus. I am using the working title “Redemption” because that's the theme of the story.  But it's not a title that inspires me.
 
“The Kite Runner” and “Atonement” were alike in their main plot-line: an adult atoning for what he/she did in childhood. In my novel the key character is a psychic who feels the need to atone for what she did in a previous life. Her soul seeks eternal redemption. That makes it different from other novels.

I tried writing this story about three years ago and actually finished it, but I never sent it out because it didn’t work. The structure was too confusing and the narrative sagged in places. Parts of it were simply not convincing enough. It was clear to me that an edit was not going to cure the problem areas, so I put the manuscript aside until I was ready to completely rewrite the whole story from scratch. A harsh decision, but sometimes that’s the only way to get a novel that works. I learned a long time ago that it's a waste of time and money to send out manuscripts you know to be flawed. A rewrite is the only answer.

In this new version, I have kept the main theme, the characters and their motivations. Everything else has had to change. In the original draft I had a modern-day character delving back into the past. That led to confusion in the timeline which jumped around far too much. There is no present-day character in this new version. It 's a linear story that never strays from the historical plot. The psychic seeking remeption remains a historical character.

I now have a clear structure and a clear plot-line. In short, it’s a “Ken Follett meets Barbara Erskine in medieval Ireland” story. I'm happy to spend a few months working on that, but I am still looking for a better title to reflect the theme of atonement and redemption. Any ideas?

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