Back to Kipper’s Pride

Posted: January 11, 2011 in Kipper's Pride
Tags: , , , ,

This morning I got back to the novel I’m writing for 10s-12s, called (for the moment) Kipper’s Pride. Most mornings, I open the MacBook Air while drinking two mugs of tea in bed, and scribe another several hundred words. That doesn’t sound a lot but it mounts up – 25,000 words to date. Probably half way through. So I thought I’d tell you about it.

I had two initial struggles with this story.

1 The plot struggle

The plot proved tricky just before Christmas, simply because I didn’t plan a chunk of it. Going back to outlining was the answer and I’m back in business.

2 The point-of-view struggle

What proved harder to establish from the start was the POV. I always knew it would be the 15-year-old boy Jervan Krasniewski’s story. He has a twin, he has an English-Polish family, Dad is off sick from the army, having suffered something traumatic in Afghanistan, and the twins and Mum have gone on holiday to Seahouses without him. Mum disappears, and the story is the search to find her. So far so good.

Seahouses: setting for Kipper's Pride

I started writing this piece of fiction in the 3rd person inside Jervan’s head (limited perspective). The first part was Very Highly Commended in the UKAuthors Opening Words 2009 competition (results were only announced in September 2010). Not too bad considering the overwhelming number of entries they had which held up the results for so long.

But straight after submitting it, back in Dec 09, I had rewritten the existing chapters in the first person because I wasn’t happy with it. And that’s when I found Jervan’s voice and personality. It’s so much easier to make him authentic this way. While I’m writing, I’m him. So this is the version from which the opening chapter won the WriteLink Novel Beginnings first prize in the summer, so I guess something is indeed right about it.

One other issue

There’s been one other major decision so far. Was it OK to change viewpoint for a while half way through?

This follows the chapter where Jervan finds his sister has gone missing, too. It really makes sense at this point to backtrack to the day before, when Mum disappeared. I need the reader to know how she disappeared because this offers so much more tension when Jervan has to up his game to solve everything. Knowing she’s alive doesn’t spoil anything now, but knowing what might happen if Jervan doesn’t succeed changes everything.

I think the only way to do it is in the 3rd person from Mum’s point of view. This will only be a few short chapters (or even one long one) compared to the Jervan strand that is the major part of the book. But I think it will be worth it. I can always rethink, if it doesn’t work.


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