OK, there may not be such a word as ‘bewonderment’, but I’m sure there should be. In this case I’m using it to mean ‘a state of wondering about’ my works in progress.
I’ve finally re-read Elf Princes’ Quest, which seriously still needs a better name. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed aloud in parts, and I stayed up reading late into the night because I wanted to find out what happened in the end. This is always a good sign.
The trouble is that it’s nothing like the kind of book that I might write. It’s the light-hearted elvish rom-com that Under the Hill was meant to be before UtH swallowed Bomber Command and turned into a two volume epic. It’s… it’s a meringue of story, where I normally make fruitcake. Meringue is a lovely thing, crisp, light and sweet, but when I’ve only ever offered heavy and rich before, people coming to me for Christmas cake are going to be disconcerted to get pavlova instead.
Enough with the comestibles! To speak more plainly, I mean that normally I do serious, earnest stuff, with themes and everything, whereas EPQ is a tongue in cheek romp with no deeper meaning at all. I am thinking that perhaps the thing to do is accept that it’s nothing like an Alex Beecroft novel and publish it under a different name.
The Glass Floor is just rubbing EPQ’s strangeness in, because The Glass Floor is doing my much more normal thing of ramifying beneath my hands: “But muuum, I don’t want to be a novella! Muuum, I want to be a trilogy. I want you to learn everything about the Balkans in the 18th Century. Why can’t you become an expert on the Ottoman Empire in a couple of weeks? They can visit the Sultan! There could be a cool scholarly antagonist who was a Turkish physician, and the second book could be from his POV, so we see that he’s a hero too….”
Radu doesn’t want to be the hero of some petty little domestic drama, he wants to FREE HIS PEOPLE FROM CENTURIES OF OPPRESSION. He’s decided that Dracula is his role model after all, and he’s somewhat peeved that he got named after Vlad’s passive, syphilitic little brother. (I keep telling him it’s only because I thought it was a cool name – you may have noticed that I like saying it whenever I can – but he’s not happy.)
Naturally, this means a complete re-plot. But I can handle that. I’m encouraged, in fact, as it’s very typical of my longer novels. To go back to the baked goods metaphor, it’s like adding yeast to bread dough and letting it rise, knocking it back and kneading it and letting it prove again. If a story doesn’t swell in the telling, I’m never quite sure if it’s properly alive.