As many of you know, I’m currently working on Miss Gwen’s book, oh so cleverly titled Pink X.
Miss Gwen is being, shall we say… obstructive. I’m currently on the eighteenth version of Chapter One. Let’s hope that this is the final one.
I’d love to say that this is unusual, but it isn’t. Some books take more writing into than others. Sometimes it’s a matter of pacing, of trying to find just the right place to enter the narrative. Night Jasmine was one of those books. I originally opened the book with Robert and had to move it back around to Charlotte.
Other times, the problem has to do with the character. The writing and the re-writing become a process of pulling away the layers to get at the heart of who this person is and what makes her tick. Mistletoe was that kind of book for me. I knew Turnip rather well, but Arabella was a mystery to me– at least, until I’d rewritten Chapter One a half dozen times.
You would think, having been intimately acquainted with Miss Gwen for nine books now, that she would be easier to write. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The face Miss Gwen shows to the world is as full of prickles as a hedgehog’s carapace (does a hedgehog have a carapace? never mind). I wrote cranky Gwen, defiant Gwen, and selfish Gwen before managing, FINALLY, to make it down to what I believe is finally the real, rock-bottom Gwen.
The word I’d use to describe this Gwen? Gallant. There’s a d’Artagnan element to her (let’s ignore the fact that Dumas hadn’t written it yet). Beneath that stern, chaperone exterior, there’s a swashbuckling adventurer waiting to be unleashed on the world. She’s fearless, passionate, and obstinately loyal, and she masks all of these with that protective armor of prickles, with snorts and sarcasm and a particularly pointy parasol.
Now that I’ve got down to the essential Gwen-ness of Gwen, I’m hoping she’ll stop being so obstructive and let the book start cracking along!