The Dove on the Pergola – 18th June 2018

The Dove on the Pergola – progress 180618

This is my weekly blog post about the progress of my novel “The Dove on the Pergola”. The novel is about a young Indian woman, Makshirani, who has lived until she was sixteen years old in a village in Bengal, and who then moves to the big city of Kolkata.

The dove on the pergola 180618

Character and plot

I’ve been working on the storyboard this week.

One of the things I’ve learned from writing my previous novels is that it’s difficult to introduce substantive material at a late stage. The new material can create conflicts with previous material and putting them right causes further problems and – oh! (Throws up hands in despair!)

So, I want to complete the storyboard comprehensively before I start to write the novel itself. I have 900 words on the storyboard, and that takes me about a third of the way through the novel.

Mind you, I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong impression. Side by side with the storyboard I’m recording my insights into the characters and the way they interact to form the plot. There’s many more words here – about 3,000 so far. It’s leading to some interesting progress. Most notably, I’m finding that characters are starting to show that they have multiple roles to play.

For example, when Makshirani flees from her village to Kolkata, she turns to her Aunt Abhilasha for support and accommodation. It’s obvious that Abhilasha will influence the plot after Makshirani joins her – but how about earlier than that? Why does she live in Kolkata? Suppose she plays a crucial role at Makshirani’s birth? Her experiences then would help shape who she is, and therefore affect Makshirani later. And that’s one of the reasons why late additions of substantive content are so difficult; action and character are totally interlinked.

Despite my good intentions, though, I must confess that I have started writing the opening scene! I’m trying to achieve the intensity and focus of flash fiction in an extended piece of several thousand words. At the end of the opening chapter, I want the reader to feel emotionally exhausted – but eager to carry on reading!

If you have any thoughts on the way I’m tackling this, I would be delighted to hear from you. I will answer every comment.

 

Friday Fictioneers – City Life

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

Last week I was very busy, and I’m afraid I didn’t manage to read all the stories. If I missed yours, I’m sorry – I shall try to do better this week!

FF - City Life 180411

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

City Life

Makshirani disembarked from the train. Crowds jostled. The city was very different from home. What would her new life be like?

A young man approached.

“Namaste! I’m Dayasara. Aunt Abhilasha sent me to collect you.”

“Namaste.” Makshirani made the gesture of pranamasana.

“Come. I have a moped.”

Makshirani clung on as Dayasara zigzagged between the heavy traffic. The streets grew narrower, stinking and full of flies.

Dayasara stopped by a dilapidated colonial residence.

“You’re sharing with four girls; I’ll introduce you. Can we meet when you’ve settled in?”

Makshirani looked down modestly.

“Only if Aunt says I may,” she murmured.

Friday Fictioneers – The Dare

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - factory - The Dare 170927

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

The Dare

It was dark. The dog barked furiously, straining at its chain. Robbie danced past it, staying just out of reach.

“I dare you to climb the chimney.”

Robbie looked at the vertical ladder. ‘Easy peasy,’ he thought.

Twenty metres up, he changed his mind. A rusty bolt holding ladder to brickwork crumbled, and the ladder lurched. Robbie scraped the knuckles of both hands as he clung on.

“I dare you…”

He climbed to the top and took a photograph. He could smell smoke.

Back at the bottom, “Done it!”  he gloated – just as the dog broke its chain.