The past month or so I haven't been able to do much writing. Was feeling very tired, had a few viruses and some emotional trauma that really ground me down. School holidays have been a much needed oasis to recalibrate and get back to my writing life.
I have been working on a novel for the second year now. The working title is Silver City and it is about a 14 year-old girl and her life in the city of Srebrenica during the Balkan War.
I have written about 10 chapters that were synthesising the research I had undertaken reading first-person accounts from Srebrenica. Each chapter was in a sense stand-alone, with no continuity. Character names were changing, character arcs were changing. I was getting to the point where I had no clarity about what I had written and what I needed to write.
It was time to take stock. I paused with writing and wrote a synopsis, figuring out the story arc and what I was aiming for. I have been using this resource to write a synopsis and have found it so helpful with all of my books.
Now for the hard part: to go back to the beginning and undertake revision, joining this chapters into a narrative that read like a book.
This is what I've been doing for the past week. Every day I have been revising for two hours or more. Today I finished revising chapter 6. So I now have six chapters, a proper extract that is readable like a book. Total word count so far is 29,010.
I'm feeling quite content with my progress so far. Hopefully in the second week of holidays I’ll complete revision for all the chapters I have and then can focus on finishing my draft.
I'm feeling such a sense of relief and accomplishment at my progress.
If you're wondering what my novel is about here's a blurb:
"Seka Torlak is like any other regular 14 year-old-girl: she has her first crush, falls in love, and struggles with making new friends after her best friend moves away. What makes her unique is it all happens during the Balkan War while her city of Srebrenica is under siege and she faces starvation, shelling, and sniper attacks."
And if you want to read some an an extract of my work in progress published in The Bronzeville Bee click here.
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Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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