Ah, a work in progress, the dream/nightmare of every author. I jest, I love writing, and there’s nothing better than getting stuck into a new story. I’m working on my début novel present, titled: The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread, which will be the first full-length story in my comedy book series, The Bumpkinton Tales.
There he is on the left, or a close approximation anyway.
Where did the idea come from for the work in progress?
The idea has floated around for around three years now, and it came from my partner, Elaine. Originally I planned to release it after The Bachelor, but the story was quite complicated and needed to be longer than a novella.
At present, the word count stands over 96,000 words.
It’s been a story I’ve enjoyed writing, even when I’ve hit roadblocks in the story. And it certainly hasn’t been a story without its problems.
Problems with The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread explained.
Okay, I’m going to say something now that sounds completely idiotic. I wrote the third draft and finished it in September. However, I foolishly forgot to back it up. Then disaster stuck. A piece of ransomware invaded my laptop, effectively locking and wiping the entire thing. It’s been cleared and tidied now, but there’s no way to get that lost work back.
All I had was a saved copy of draft two. I committed the cardinal sin no author should ever do, so in future, if you’re a writer make sure to:
- Back up your work often
- Don’t open a message from a friend with an attachment without speaking to them first
- Back up your work often
Yes, I mentioned the same point twice, but it is important. I usually do, but for some reason, on this occasion, I didn’t. And I’d never normally open anything in emails. I feel as idiotic as you probably think I am!
With the setback, how far along is the work in progress?
So, I’m now on Draft 3.2, and I am eleven chapters in. Although it’s been difficult to remember everything I changed, the loss has brought out some positives. Everything I planned to change in Draft 4 I have amended already, and there was one chapter that was not working at all. That has been fixed, and it now works better. It’s set me back about three months, but I’m working hard on it.
Here’re some exclusives about the story.
I’ve been rather vague about the novel for a while, so I want to give you a snapshot of the story as well as give you a few little titbits.
The Story: The crime level in Bumpkinton is on the rise, and when a gross act of vandalism hits the heart of the community, there’s only one thing they can do.
However, after a disastrous evening in the village hall, a man steps forward to solve their problems.
The one, the only, fantastical Gregory Shortbread.
Exclusives: There are a few things that are different in the novel, none more so than Amelia Goose. She’s a changed woman, which is worrying Father Whitworth O’Grady. His distrust for the ‘new‘ Amelia is causing him sleepless nights.
The novel deals with domestic abuse, something that I haven’t done before and is dark in parts. However, it still has that Bumpkinton ‘feel‘.
New characters: New character names include Sara Hawthorne, Deloris Cartwright, Kevin Quinn, Annette Rightway and one I really cannot say as it is so strange it will spoil it.
Extract: Please remember this is an extract from my work in progress, it’s rough and unedited and is subject to change before the final version:
Chapter 1: Poles Apart
18th August 1984
Gregory sat on the corner of his bed and stared at the cracked mirror fixed to his shambolic, old dressing table. He had a natural wave of curly, blonde hair and soft, milky blue eyes that would make grannies pop their last pound note into his hand for looking ‘unbelievably cute.’
Around the edges of the mirror, crude drawings of light bulbs had been stuck on with great care to simulate a theatrical, backstage mirror. They had been coloured in with yellow felt tip pen in an attempt to add a bit of glitz and glamour.
Posters of theatre productions adorned the walls, sent to Gregory by theatre’s he had written to, asking them for spares whenever a show came to the end of its run. There were at least a dozen rolls securely packaged in tubes inside Gregory’s wardrobe, under his bed and anywhere else he could find to store them. Once in a while he would take one down, put up a new one and act out the show to himself in his bedroom as dead-eyed toy soldiers and teddy bears looked on.
Today, however, was different. Gregory wouldn’t be performing to an empty room, he would be playing to a captive audience of two. Once a year, he roped his friends and classmates into putting on a production in the back garden. The last few years had not gone well, but this year, Gregory was determined to blow the audience away.
Gregory took a deep breath, ran his fingers through his curly hair and left the quiet security of his room. He took the stairs slowly, as if he taking his final steps on the way to the electric chair, until he reached the bottom.
He stopped outside the living room door and peered inside. Gregory watched his father sleeping for a moment. He was a balding, tubby man who wore a vest for most of the year. He rarely ventured outdoors except to stumble to and from the off-licence for a bottle of brandy and a packet of cigarettes. Gregory looked at the empty bottle hanging between the fingers of his father’s sleeping hand and felt a rush of anger.
When will it be released?
Even with the setback it is still on course for a 2017 release. Ideally, it will be around July or August, but it may be slightly later. However, I’m confident it will definitely be available to buy next year. It could even be earlier, but summer is what I am aiming for.
New to Bumpkinton?
If you’re yet to jump into my Bumpkinton stories, then why not dip your two in and find out more.