Writing a novel is all about balance, and I found more than one kind last week. My husband and I were staying in a little beach-side cottage in Porthdinllaen, on the Llyn Peninsula, in North Wales. He went cycling and I wrote.
Pressmennan, my new novel, grew by almost 6,000 words in a matter of days. For me, with two additional part-time jobs and an otherwise busy life, it was a huge achievement. Especially since there was still time to run and swim, sit on the terrace watching the fishermen, and keep up to date with the Tour de France.
That’s one kind of balance – producing enough words to feel like I’m really making progress without it turning into an all-consuming chore – but there’s another type, which is even more important.
To make any novel a page-turning experience – in other words, publishable – in addition to being well-written, it must be well structured. It needs a satisfying rhythm of dramatic, cliff-hanging episodes and calmer, more reflective passages. And that can only be created with the right balance of action and description, dialogue and flashback.
I think I’m achieving that. Will readers agree? We’ll have to wait and see.