- Tights went from woollen to barely-black
- Her skirt got shorter by three turns of the waistband
- And don't remind me about the discussions on whether black was an appropriate colour to wear under her school shirt
She discovered boys were not just irritations or class members to compete against.
And no - Jess Trainer is not my Minnow in book form. However, if I want an anecdote to add realism there is no substitute for having a daughter with hundreds of friends - someone has always done something that sparks the necessary train of thought to get the writing moving again.
So, I wrote a story of how one girl fell, fast and hard for the boy she should not have been attracted too.
Worried about the word count I described EVERYTHING - I didn't want to write a short book - but I found my manuscript was completed at nearly 130,000 words. It had a severe case of inflation. Letting the air out was a long and painful thing. Some sections I had slaved over were the first to go. This was hard. It took a year and three revisions to trim the tale to 72,000 words and still keep every plot line going and every character fully rounded.
But I revised - word by word - the entire book. I became (am) totally obsessive about the thing. I learned how to polish. Vocabulary selection and word order could not remain untampered, I was heading for a book where subtlety and nuance reigned.
Then I was shown a historical romance written by someone with a masterly control of punctuation - it glowed with a purple glow visible from the other side of the room. I discovered that writing a novel is not about using perfect grammar because there was no heart in the work at all.
Eventually the tinkering stopped.
Until the next time I open the pages