This is how it began. My sister Anna, a brilliant and witty writer, suggested that we should try to write a romance novel according to the guidelines published by Mills & Boon. Not as easy as it sounds, apparently. She created a finely judged opening paragraph and sent it to me. And, intoxicated by the stylistic possibilities that are simply not offered by my usual literary output of press releases on Bedfordshire’s latest social housing project, I have taken up the gauntlet. The idea is that we will take it in turns to develop the story, in full view of you, dear reader.

We are taking this project seriously, but I am already acutely aware that writing about simmering desire with one’s own sister might be possible only with tongue tentatively in cheek. We have agreed not to discuss our plot ideas, so the novel will unfold as unpredictably to us as to our readers. This could lead to trouble later on, but for now it seems a very liberating way to start.

Who knows where this project will take us? To the dizzying heights of publication by the world’s leading romance brand? Probably not. But wherever we end up, it should be fun getting there…

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Part 45 – Wrong Direction

I haven’t been blogging with my usual monotony lately, what with having the kitchen replaced and moving in with parents for 10 days and trying to keep up with work and flooding new kitchen with stagnant water. And what with Anna taking ages to come up with this little number.

I was keen to see where she’d go next, because it feels as if we’re making a new beginning with this part of the story. And I don’t agree with her direction: Topaz must be in the driving seat from now on, otherwise no one will believe that we have our fingers on the pulse of modern, kick-ass womanhood. I can’t quite see her chipping her nail polish building Paradise Heights herself, but Cleft cannot do it for her.

I don’t know what’s harder: dealing with ballsy women or describing them Doing It. But we must face up to our responsibilities, and once again Anna has shirked them (the ballsy women bit, I mean). Nicely written, though.

Part 45 (by Anna)

The first milky light of dawn had yet to seep over the bristling hills and valleys as the jeep ground its way up the dusty spiral. A puny moon hung over the mountain side, its beams too feeble to challenge the blackness of the windows and pick out the taut figure within.

Cleft, wrenching at the wheel with one calloused hand, stared fixedly ahead, his shades making a double darkness as the track uncurled almost invisibly before him. There was a thudding from the back as errant stones pitched his cargo from one side of the vehicle to the other, but the noise was a pleasing one. Cleft thought with grim satisfaction of his tools, each one as familiar and dependable as his own flesh, that had carved his progress across the globe. Now they faced the most vital challenge of their shared existence; to carve out his future, his happiness, his life.

And here was the canvas: the arid plateau faintly etched in the fading darkness, the air already pulsing with insect life. Time was short, he knew. Paradise Heights, that drew him like a magnet, would draw Topaz too, and Terence, as the three executed the complex, agonised, intimate dance to which Fate had condemned them. He had this single chance, to build with his own sweat and blood, the future: to offer it, unconditionally, to the woman who had both enslaved and liberated him; to acknowledge that he came as a supplicant, with only raw muscle and a blazing heart to recommend him; that paradise was not in his gift, but hers, and he must trust her to choose the rightful recipient.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, just love the sibling bickering.
    Is our Cleft (lip) going to build the house all by himself? I hope he's not in a hurry.