I’m starting to get the feeling that Penny Royal is struggling to turn into something larger. I started out by jotting down backstory involving the prador/human war and some later events concerning my main character. Then I moved on and wrote a piece of the ‘present day’ story. Next returning to the backstory I began filling it in, also having some ideas concerning hooders that were just too juicy to resist. The ‘present day’ piece is just over 1,000 words long while the backstory is 25,000 words long. Ahem.
That backstory has also grown because of the necessity for conflict, and has grown in much the same way as the ‘B’ plotline for Gridlinked. Let me just revisit that for a moment:
I submitted a sample and synopsis of Gridlinked to Macmillan at the end of 1999 and received a request for the whole book shortly afterwards, which I sent by email. At the time Gridlinked was 65,000 words long and I knew it was too short for present day publication requirements. I suggested, by email, that I could expand it – maybe put in more about the doings of the villains in the story. Meanwhile that email crossed one on the way back with a reader’s report from Simon Kavanagh (now an author’s agent): it’s too short and maybe I should expand the B plotline i.e. the story of the villains. I did as requested, expanding Gridlinked to 135,000 words in, I think, about two or three weeks. Peter Lavery at Macmillan expected a load of padded crap, what he got instead was Mr Crane (who wasn’t in the original version).
In Penny Royal I’ve been concentrating on a villain – someone who encountered Penny Royal during its time in the Graveyard. I’m finding the writing ridiculously easy (which is worrying) and am starting to contemplate the idea of introducing other characters like her (Isobel Satomi), who have experienced similar encounters with Penny Royal. I can’t really say much more than this … well, I can add that prador and hooders have joined the cast, along with second-child ship minds, shell people, a heavyworlder thug, Jebel U-cap Krong and Sylac (who some may remember from Gridlinked and Prador Moon).
I’d like to get back to work now, but again I’ve got a sty in my eye and feel like crap. Concentrating on a screen ain’t helping.