Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gill Stewart on The Evolution of a Story

Gill Stewart, writing as Gillian Villars, tells us about ‘Tomorrow’s Promise’ – The Evolution of a Story

In her recent post , Kate Harrison discussed the task of re-writing a story once the novel had actually been published. That really is quite a challenge and it was fascinating to read about it. The evolution of my story has been slightly different and probably easier as it has not taken place ‘in public'.

The story I’m referring to is ‘Tomorrow’s Promise’, my second People’s Friend Pocket Novel which is out now. The title was new to me and made me think about all the evolutions this story has been through to reach eventual publication.

Firstly the title – it started off in my head as ‘Lara’ and stayed with that title for years. Then when PF accepted it, it was as ‘Lara of Ladybank Row’. And now it is published under the completely different title of ‘Tomorrow’s Promise’.

But it’s not only the title that has been evolving. The story itself has changed many times, although as always been essentially the same – the story of Lara, a teacher, who takes on the challenge of a new job and run down house, who is quite happy thank you and certainly isn’t looking for love or reconciliation with her parents, but through the novel finds both…

In its original incarnation the story was intended to be the first of a trilogy, each centring on the love story of one of three friends. The second incarnation was as a novel in its own right, with some of the friends’ stories woven in. The third and final version was altered to suit the format of the People’s Friend Pocket Novel and had to be considerably shortened (it helped having to take out all the swear words and sex!).

This is a story I am very fond of and I’m delighted I didn’t give up on it and that it has eventually found a home. For me it shows that the saying ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again’ is very true, especially when it comes to writing.


Jan Jones said...

That is actually what it is all about, Gill, isn't it? Sticking with our own instincts about a book, but at the same time presenting it in a form that is acceptable to the current market.

Well done, you!

Caroline said...

What an interesting blog! Like Jan says sometimes a book that you loved to write but didn't get anywhere might still be in with a shout. Take care. Caroline x

Pia Fenton said...

You're so right, Gill - it can be really hard to believe that a story will eventually find a home, but it obviously pays to keep trying different angles and directions. Look forward to reading it! Pia x

Janice said...

How wonderful to know the 'background story' of your story, Gill. I've got my copy of Tomorrow's promise or 'Lara' and I'm looking forward to reading it even more now!
Janice x