INTRODUCTION

Welcome to my first try at writing an adult novel. I'm learning as I go along by doing the Author Learning Centre Book in a Year course as I did for my memoir. The process for writing a work of fiction is very different but very fascinating. You map out the storyline by first having an inkling of an idea and then carrying out a 'What if?' excercise. I knew I wanted to write a historical novel set in post WW2 England. It had to be centred in a small but straggling village where there had been no bombing, and all its soldiers returned safely. I found a village in Cumberland that fit this description. I wanted it to be about the life of a little girl born to a soldier and his girlfriend. After 2 hours of 'What iffing' I had the whole story mapped out. Magic!

Since then, I've learned about the fundimentals of writing fiction, how to create captivating characters; how to write dialogue that deepens characters; how to show, not tell; and the techniques of how to tell a story from different points of view. I've learned and am still learning so much, and trying to put it into practice as I write.

I've written 10 chapters to date (end August 2020) and I've formed an editorial group of 8 people who are willing to read my work and provide constructive and honest feedback, which is invaluable. I'll include some of this feedback as I go along. If anyone out there would like to join this group, then please contact me on gloriaeveleigh@icloud.com.

My working title is 'There Has to be a Better Way' but I'm sure that will change as the book develops. I'm likely to need your help with that.

FEEDBACK FROM NEW CHAPTERS 6-8

Lisa: The longer chapters are much better for me. Nothing feels like waffle and it’s a good mix of description and dialogue (reminds me of the Call the Midwife programs).

ACTIONS CARRIED OUT AS A RESULT OF FEEDBACK FROM CHAPTERS 1-10

The first 10 chapters have now become 5 by joining together 2 chapters. Hence, from now on we will continue with longer chapters, commencing from the new Chapter 6. Because the chapters are now longer, the editorial group has opted to review 3 chapters at a time.

ACTIONS REQUIRED FROM FEEDBACK ON CHAPTERS 1-10

I need to join some chapters together to make them longer.
I need to check the balance between dialogue and description.

Thanks everyone. Without you, I would have no idea what improvements are needed x

FEEDBACK ON CHAPTERS 6-10

John: The first thing to say is it does flow well, following a logical, chronological pattern, with no confusing time shifts. This makes for an easy read. More generally speaking there is a noticeable improvement in how you include more about emotions and thinking processes. I’ve always thought this important, as it’s what goes on in our heads all the time, often without us being conscious of it. Including some of this is helpful for the reader in understanding how a character acts, makes decisions etc. I think it also helps in identifying with characters, recognising dilemmas, available options, responses and so on. The actual story is sound and well told, so no worries on that score.

Joanie: It's a good story Glo. I always think the essence of a good novel is wanting to know what happens next, and this has it. At this point I am hating Alfie and wondering about Gerald’s past, which we haven’t really learned about yet (apart from Alfie’s lies). Loving the Braithwaites!

Tony: • I quite like the shorter chapters compared to longer ones as I read in bed at night and they give me more opportunities to stop and go to sleep. I'm happy with the dialect, but some longer dialogue that only has a couple of dialect words tends to disrupt the flow, so maybe a few more dialect words in longer speeches would be easier. I felt I wanted to read on at the end of pages and chapters. I'm enjoying reading the book so far as it flows well .

Lisa: Really enjoying reading these - have read through 2 /3 times 😁.  Can’t wait for the next round.

FEEDBACK ON CHAPTERS 1-5

Lisa: Have loved reading the chapters - they definitely draw you in and you want to know more about the characters. For me I want each chapter to be longer, but that may be just because the books I read generally have large chapters. But I like the style of writing.

Lynn: Quick easy to read chapters. I didn't find any spelling errors but maybe chapters were too simple. I enjoyed the description of Georgie waiting for her dad to come home.

John: The story flows very well and at a suitable pace, which is always desirable in order to hold the readers attention. However, I feel it would benefit from adding a physical description to each person in some way, slipping in little details that make it easier for the reader to picture them all. The same is also needed for the physical surroundings such as the cottage. A very good beginning Glo.

Tony: It’s not really my sort of book. However, I found myself wanting to read on from page to page and chapter to chapter.

Ann: I have to say to start with, that the subject matter is not the theme of a book that I would buy, so I hope you don't think I'm being too negative because I don't have experience of other books like this to compare with. I think that the chapters are too short and there was a lot of detailed conversation. Whole passages of "who said what to whom" and I found myself drifting a bit and losing the thread. I did find the characters likable and believable, so I was interested to see how they developed but not in the minute detail of their conversations between themselves.

Wendy: Either 'Mummy' or 'Mum' should be used - not both.Same with 'Daddy' or 'Dad. In that part of the country, the word 'living room' is used rather than 'lounge.' Ages of Alfie and Florrie need to be double checked. Beavers live near water so perhaps badgers wander through the garden. Either numbers or words should be used throughout - not both.