A couple of days ago as I was working on my next Radwinter novel, provisionally entitled ‘Earthquake’, I had a sudden realisation that it was just too complicated – there were just too many story lines.
There were two main stories – a genealogical investigation by my main character Thomas into a possible crime committed nearly ninety years ago, and a haunted hotel which he was also looking into. As well as this he was researching his half-Tobagan wife’s English ancestry and as a family they were dealing with a niece who had come to live with them. So that is four story-lines, oh and there is an amnesiac woman, plus the ongoing stories about Thomas’s brothers Marcus, Paul and John and the various situations they find themselves in…
So, a couple of days ago I suddenly realised it was too much! The wife’s family tree could be saved for another story! Using modern technology, i.e a computer, it is simple to go through the manuscript and take out what you don’t want and then save it somewhere else for future use. Because of the way I have written the story, the different strands are separate, so it wasn’t too tricky.
Back to work today, working on the haunted hotel line… and another thought came gradually upon me. There is still too much to squeeze into one novel; my last novel which I published, ‘Lucky Portbraddon’ was long, and complicated, and took a lot of writing and a lot of editing… My Thomas stories are shorter – not sagas, but normal sized novels. I was pleased with ‘Lucky’ and think it was the right length and with enough strands for the story it told… but ‘Earthquake’ needs to be shorter.
So this afternoon I took out the amnesiac woman – she is intriguing enough to feature in another story, so she’s quite safe in a file saved here for another time.