Hannah221's Writing Blogs
I might be "Keeping The Peace" but can I keep my sanity in doing so? Maybe I need a bit of guidance with "The Amateur's Guide To Love". Pop in for a behind-the-scene insight as I write my books and join me for a chat along the way to the final fullstop.
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Hannah Hooton

Chapter Thirty-Four:

Like I thought, the onslaught of college assignments has slowed down Keeping The Peace's progress. I have literally just finished writing this chapter before sending it live, giving me no leeway should I want to change anything. Nevertheless, maybe future chapters will be easier to write than this one (ha! I think that might be wishful thinking on my part).

In preparation for Peace Offering's race, I watched the Welsh Grand National about ten times on youtube just so I could get the order of jumps and course navigation right (don't worry, I won't insist you go watch it too). I didn't want to drag the race out so although only a few jumps are mentioned, the horses would have in fact jumped about twenty fences. I hope you, the readers, were able to fill in the blanks. And yay! Peace Offering wins at last! I had hoped to build tension regarding the importance of him doing well here in order to get his Grand National entry but on reading it back to myself, I think this might be an area that will need to be worked on in the edit.

I wanted to include four particular things in this chapter: Peace Offering's race, Finn kissing Pippa afterwards (and Jack's reaction), a celebratory drink with Jack and a heart-to-heart with Tash. I concluded after much deliberation to combine the last two scenes and if my word count was threatening to overspill then I was prepared to cut Finn's scene out as well and just incorporate it into Pippa and Tash's conversation. After a couple of false starts and tweaking, as it was, I was able to include it so was happy about that.

The next thing that had me pausing for thought was the mention of Finn and Cara Connolly's relationship. I was tempted to make them all bump into each other when Jack takes Pippa and Tash out for drinks but I think I've used that excuse enough already. A better idea struck me just before I started writing the pub scene - a newspaper article. I was pleased with this because you never know just how much to believe from gossip magazines so it leaves Finn's defence that he and Cara are "just friends" still open to debate, plus Jack is now aware of her involvement with Skylark and Finn without Pippa looking too much like a tell-tale. Plus it's good practice for me in my journalism module.

I've just done a word count on the whole book and it now stands at 83,000 words. My intended target of 90,000 looks like it's going to be overshot by a few thousand to say the least but they say it's easier to cut back than to pad out. I'm tempted to rename this book "The Weed" because it just seems to be growing and growing and there's still so much more to happen! When I first started writing it so many moons ago, I didn't think I could fill more than 60,000 so Mills And Boon were going to be my primary market. Well, at this rate it's going to be closer to double that so unless they're into publishing two-parters then I guess I have to go for mainstream publishing! When it comes to estimations, I'm a lost cause so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, but I'm still hoping to complete it by 100,000 words, even if I will be sad to see the end of it. Hope you'll stay with Pippa, Jack, Finn and Peace Offering until then!

9/22/2010 #61

I think you definitely got the basis of the race write with enought tension at the end where you really didn't know if he was going to win or not. The newspaper article was also a good way to get that moment in.

Gahhhhh, I usually write more but can't say much more that isn't already written in my review hehehe.


9/22/2010 #62
Hannah Hooton

You write plenty JM and it's always gratefully received! I mentioned in my PM to you what a pleasure it was to write the race scene combined with Jack and Pippa. This was an element which I've struggled with in the past: keeping the tension of what's happening in the race but interspersing it with how the people on the sidelines are feeling throughout. Whether it's practice (I've had the whole of At Long Odds and most of Keeping The Peace to get it right!) or whether the characters are so real, I don't know but it comes much easier to me now. Perhaps it's a combination of both.

I know for certain that the characters in KTP are easier to write in some ways, even if they don't always do what I want them to do which makes it less easy! But at the same time, I feel they've developed themselves so much they've become easier to interact with and the flow is more natural. Does that make sense? Nothing feels forced in this book, whereas with At Long Odds, I sometimes struggled to come up with events for the characters to interact. Jack and Pippa bounce off eachother like tennis balls, which is great because I love watching Wimbledon. And I don't take any credit for the development of these characters, I simply gave them skeletons and they've somehow managed to build flesh, muscle and mind onto those. And some of the bodies they've created for themselves aren't half lush!

Next chapter should be up in the next couple of days :)

9/24/2010 #63
Hannah Hooton

Chapter Thirty-Five:

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I hope this chapter had you on the edge of your seat. I had to keep stopping myself because I was enjoying it so much just to take it slow and think things through. The race I of course had to research by youtubing it (as is my usual style). And you may call me a sap, but what Pippa was feeling in the office, getting all choked up about the staff's absolute devotion to their work is pretty much how I get. The race I picked on youtube was the 2010 Gold Cup when after a massive build-up, Kauto Star, the odds on favourite fell. I was there on course for that race and I have never seen or felt desolation quite like that moment. 70,000 fans who've eagerly anticipated a race for a whole year only to be let down by their hero just a couple of jumps from the finish. You know how you can feel other people's emotions, like if you go to a great party, you start to feel happy too? Imagine 70,000 broken hearts all in one grandstand. It makes you want to go buy a noose, I swear. Nevertheless, that's how I wanted to portray the staff in the Gold Cup aftermath.

Now Emmie's pregnancy scare, I hummed and hawwed about this for a while, as I wasn't quite sure where to put it. I also wanted someone to explain to Pippa about Finn maybe making a judgement error and bringing to mind the possibility that maybe his fall might have been avoided. I didn't want it to be Jack (you'll see why later) and it couldn't be Finn for obvious reasons. The only one left was Billy so I decided to put Emmie's pregnancy scare in immediately after the race to give Billy and Pippa the chance to talk. And hey presto! What are our feelings about Finn now? Some of you good souls who put up with my ramblings have mentioned there's something not quite right about Finn but you're not sure exactly what. What do you think now? And what do you think of Melissa?

And lastly, my favourite subject: Jack Carmichael. I had to stop myself from making Pippa rush back to Aspen Valley to give him a cuddle, the poor man. He's probably been receiving hell from the media, his defences are down and with Pippa getting all tender-hearted with him, has he admitted out loud what he always seems to be bottling up? I wanted to make this as tender a moment as I possibly could without going OTT about it. It's so easy to get carried away when you love both the characters! The last line of the chapter came as a welcome surprise to me: Pippa (for once!) is coming out of denial. Have you noticed that is where she is constantly, even when she was dating Ollie? Now she's out, hopefully she won't retreat again because this hasn't come a moment too soon!

9/26/2010 #64

Definitely on the edge of my seat as he was making progress forward, but then to fall I was totally with the staff thinking oh damn it all. I've already said things about the pregnancy scare in my review and it was definitely a good moment to have Pippa and Billy talk. It certainly creates further questions marks over Finn and Melissa as much can be read into their actions.

I do love him slightly vulnerable I would totally have hugged the life out of him.


9/26/2010 #65
Hannah Hooton

lol, shall we start up a JC fan club? A bunch of saddo's we might be but we love him still! I'm thinking if - and okay, this is blue sky thinking here, I realise - KTP gets published and gets made into a film (hey, Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding managed it, right?), whoever plays Jack will have a new legion of fans afterwards. I love writing his character and the best is yet to come!

9/26/2010 #66

We could totally say we were the original JC fans, nobody could compete with us, hehehehe.


9/26/2010 #67
Hannah Hooton

Okay, here's the deal: once Keeping The Peace is finished, I'll start up a Jack Carmichael fan page or something and everyone who is still a fan by the end must join! As well as being a bit of fun, it'd be a good way of seeing how many people enjoyed the novel since fictionpress traffic updates are the most unreliable things since HP brought out their version of the netbook.

9/29/2010 #68

It'll be kickass!! Hahahahaha.


9/29/2010 #69
Hannah Hooton

Chapter Thirty-Six:

Phew! Well, I don't know about you guys but my screen is starting to mist up! How much longer can these two resist? Neither of them have done me any favours in this chapter, they've got totally carried away with themselves (characters can be so selfish sometimes, don't you think?) and you might think it was a bit clumsy and clichéd towards the end of the first scene, but I needed some sort of distraction to break them apart. Otherwise, who knows how far it could have gone? On the boss' desk is a big no-no to my mind. Can you imagine the mess afterwards… all those papers and pens and paperclips to pick up. Ha! Hang your head in shame, all you dirty-minded readers who weren't thinking of stationery! Seriously though, Pippa and Jack were not meant to get so carried away in this scene, mainly because there was meant to be another two and a half scenes to follow but word count is running high so it had to stop when it did. But dang, I'll admit (sheepishly) I did enjoy writing this bit.

The next problem I faced is the scene of them going to Aaron Janssen's house. Trying to make them act "normal" was a bit of a challenge and the feelings I wanted Pippa to display while watching the charity single DVD had to be tweaked from the original idea to fit in with her mood from earlier. But what was Melissa doing there? Tell me what you think! I'm trying not to make Aaron Janssen too stereotypically camp, but when you think about it: creative, gay, generous - it might come across as camp, but it's not really unless you count the "darlings". Plus, I think he's just as entitled to have a crush on Jack as anyone else (but could he please get in line? We were here first).

Melissa, despite being rather a snotty cow, is one of my favourite characters. Why? you ask. Well, for the simple reason she does what she is told! I tell her to send Pippa daggers and a "Stay away from my man" look and she excels herself. You know when you take ice-cubes out of the freezer and they let off steam or vapour-mist or whatever it is? That's the look I was going for here. Were her eyes grey before? I don't know but they needed to be here to pull it off! Will Pippa take the hint or as her usual habit, will she rebel against conformity and ignore Melissa's warning?

9/30/2010 #70

Hehehehe, it was perfect between the two in my mind, a little loss of inhibitions, especially on Jack's part giving us a taste of possibilities only for them to be shattered hehehe. I think I need to hang my head.

I think the way Aaron speaks works, it fits him so perfectly but he definitely has to get behind us in the I heart JC Line. As a reader I am obliged to hate Melissa, though her character does work wonders on Pippa.


9/30/2010 #71
Hannah Hooton

lol, scrape your filthy mind out of the gutter, JM! But I agree, Aaron should definitely get to the back of the queue! You are also indeed obliged to hate Melissa (that is a mandatory requirement to be a member of the JC fanclub). But I was thinking about her character last night and thinking I might have overdone her a bit. I have to give the baddies some redeeming qualities, otherwise why would our main characters be dating them? Obviously, part of the reason why Jack is dating Melissa is because of the Mardling association with Aspen Valley Stables but I think they must need to be a bit more than that. Having said that, that change will have to come in the second draft, me thinks. I can't go changing Melissa's character now!

10/3/2010 #72

Indeed you cannot change Melissa's character now as dare I say it she is a little cliche in her hate, however I feel this is remedied by the mystery surrounding her, she always seems to be where you least expect her, the restaurant and Aaron's as examples.

I actually always thought from how you wrote it that there must of been an attraction between her and Jack to even start the relationship, but whether others go the same way I do on it I do not know.


10/3/2010 #73
Hannah Hooton

Chapter Thirty-Seven:

This chapter came out shorter than I expected as I decided it should focus solely on Pippa and Finn and the start of the next chapter you'll see was originally intended to tag on the end of this one (in theory - it hasn't actually been written yet!). You might have noticed the writing in the last few chapters hasn't been quite as "tight" as the first ones. All I can do is apologise, this is because I'm literally writing from chapter to chapter in an effort to update on FP on time and not going back to edit.

Anyway, back to the chapter at hand. In my original mock-up of the book, 37 was one chapter from the end and LOADS (which are still to come) had already happened. It's kind of a weird feeling, almost like you plan a great big holiday, book flights, hotel, etc. and then for some reason can't go, then on the date of your first day of that planned holiday, you sit at your desk and think "Six months ago, I thought I was going to be reclining on a deck chair on Costa del Sol being served cocktails by a hot Spanish waiter dressed in Speedos and a bowtie" then utter a big sigh. It's kinda like that, except I'm not regretting where I am right now, I'm actually quite happy to keep on writing this book! The word SEQUEL keeps flashing in my mind every time I think of KTP ending.

Well, the cottage looks almost finished. Through describing it while the scene focuses on something else, we've managed to refurbish the kitchen, the downstairs loo, the lounge, the stairs and have now done the spare bedroom. All that needs to be done now is the main bedroom and bathroom and the garden. Now, you might not notice this right now but by the end of the book, you'll understand why what happened happened the way it did (am I making sense!?). Why did Finn need to go to London to get sloshed? Why involve Tash? Why not just have him down The Plough where Pippa could rescue him? Why, if I was intending to fit in another scene at the end of this chapter, did I not have Pippa rescue him and have the conversation at the same time to make it shorter? Well, for a start, I needed Finn to be sober for him and Pippa's heart-to-heart. I spent quite a bit of time on the dialogue in this scene, as it was quite tricky to get just right. Now Pippa's feeling guilty because she thinks she's been giving Finn the wrong idea! I didn't personally see this coming but it fits her personality so I thought it was right to include it. And Finn? What do you think of him here? Has your opinion (whatever that might be) of him changed?

I'm dropping what I like to call "Easter eggs" throughout the book, which aren't always easy to spot because they might just be a line or even a word here or there. Then at the end, when all is revealed you'll say "Oh right! That's why that arbitrary thing was mentioned!" Well, hopefully that's what you'll say. Can you spot the Easter egg in this chapter?

10/4/2010 #74

Ohhhh so the stairs are done, I liked the way you snook that in.

I think it works to involve Tash and London, it would have been too close to home with too many people he knew if Finn had been drunk at the Plough, plus the media backlash if there is any would not be as big. Plus he definitely needed to be sober for the heart to heart, and Tash has been dropping hints about Jack too, that was nicely placed.

I do not feel they are losing any feel despite the fact that you have obviously said you have not gone back and edited. I suppose as someone who does not always pick up on these things I have not noticed a lack of editing between these latest chapters and the early few, so in my mind you should not worry as much about that.


10/4/2010 #75
Hannah Hooton

Cheers, JM, nice of you to reassure me about the writing :)

There is actually another reason why Tash was involved here (you'll find out later) - I mean they had to talk about something while she was spoon-feeding him caffeine, right? And actually the hints she was dropping about Jack were an afterthought. Originally, Finn was meant to come to the "It's Jack, isn't it?" conclusion all on his lonesome, but I just felt there wasn't enough evidence (exposed to him) to support it. And I like the way you're thinking about media backlash - it must be exhausting being a celeb, don't you think? Always having to look over your shoulder to make sure your mistakes, etc. aren't being monitored by the press. I'd become paranoid, which is why I intend to only become a middle-of-the-range author, no JK Rowlings here! (That's what I tell myself anyway, I wouldn't mind her billions).

10/5/2010 #76

Happy to help, I get worried myself over whether my advice is actually helpful so it is good to know it is.

In reference to the stairs you mentioned in your review reply I actually liked the way you subtly put it in as it leaves us readers guessing even about the smallest things and we therefore wonder what other things you have snuck in, it leaves us nicely guessing.

Silly people saying she should get a job, duh one of the main plot pieces of this story is the fact that Pippa HAS to work as a secretary to pay for all that therefore getting her closer to Jack.

JK is possibly thinking about writing more HP books, I can't think about what though, unless she writes them over with less death, that would make me happy.


10/5/2010 #77
Hannah Hooton

Chapter Thirty-Eight:

Firstly, let me apologise for the wait on this chapter. I've been wrestling with balancing my time between reality and fiction, and unfortunately reality has been coming out top at the moment. Which is bad because things are starting to really hot up now in KTP and I don't want you to lose interest!

In this chapter, I wrote the first scene fairly soon after writing Ch 37 and it took a bit of reworking to get everything to follow on smoothly. We're building up to something here apart from the obvious (Melissa wasn't exactly discreet here, was she?) - I wonder if you can see it or not? If not, don't worry, it reveals itself in a few chapters' time then (hopefully) you'll twig. I might not be able to plan ahead very well in real life (I forgot to get myself any dinner tonight, that's how bad I am at forethought) but I'm trying to make up for it in my fictional world. At a later stage, I think I might need to go over Melissa's little rant once more as it doesn't seem that clear why she accuses Pippa of being jealous. What she's implying is that Pippa has a ©rap life and so is trying to ruin Melissa's by stealing Aaron Janssen and Jack from her. I had to get Jack out of the office for her little attack and wasn't quite sure how to do it but then Jack's character stepped forward and said "Hey, why don't you involve the entries notebook so I can write a private message to Pippa?". That was Jack's idea, not mine and I quite liked it so followed his advice.

I started to write the second scene after about a five-day break and was struggling to get it started - I didn't know where or how and I couldn't just plunge into the telephone conversation. To be honest, I'm getting a bit bored of Pippa sitting on the draining board in the kitchen so I opted for a change of scenery. You might have been waiting for her to spy something out of the ordinary but I'm sorry to disappoint. First of all, once I'd written the first four lines, a friend decided to drop by so I had to put it on hold again then it took another two days to get going again. There was plenty I wanted Tash and Pippa to say to each other but I'm sure I've forgotten something poignant so I'll let you know if anything gets edited here in the near future. The end of the chapter, with Pippa looking at the Grand National odds was a natural way to finish and hadn't occurred to me until I actually wrote it, which is great because there's nothing worse than updating on FP then trying to work out the next chapter and thinking "Dang! I should've put that bit at the end of the last!"

Why is it a natural way to finish it? Guess where we're heading in Chapter 39!

10/13/2010 #78

I kind of got what Melissa was going for, and I have a love/hate relationship with myself over Pippa's reaction because it was totally her to be a gaping fish and yet I would have been like wait a minute Aaron wanted me to do those paintings I did not beg him, so really the frustration I feel is good as it means I am getting into the story.

I love that we got some Tash here, she just lightens things up quite nicely with her randomness. I think the Grand National suspense will kill me though, totally on the edge of my seat over the possibilities it will bring.


10/13/2010 #79
Hannah Hooton

Damn, I just realised what I missed in Tash and Pippa's conversation, now that I've read your post. Pippa was going to say she can never think of the right things to say at the right moment (don't we all) and they were going to go through variations of witty replies. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

10/15/2010 #80

To be honest, as it works to have Pippa with no comeback, even later as I don't think she would allow herself to dwell on what had happened. Although it would certainly be interesting to see how you would incorporate it into their conversation hehehe.

10/15/2010 #81
Hannah Hooton

Chapter Thirty-Nine:

Phew! Firstly, my apologies for the delay in the posting of this chapter. I underestimated just how demanding college would be. The fact that I'm studying Writing doesn't make me want to write more - unfortunately, I'm doing so much of it in class, I want to write less! I guess it's a bit like the saying "too much of a good thing…" And you can thank one of my tutors who sent me an email as I was halfway through writing this chapter to tell me my latest assignment draft was very good and needs very little reworking. Guaranteed if he'd listed a whole lot of things to be done, I'd have felt compelled to put KTP aside and work on the assignment. So thanks J.K.! Also having just started an exhausting job at the same time, I'm feeling even less inclined to write.

This chapter is HUGE, in word count and in story emphasis. I'd just like to say firstly, that having written most of it in one go - let's say 4,000 words today alone - I am mighty pleased with myself since my ideal average (which hasn't been reached lately) is 1,000 a day, so 1,000 an hour feels pretty special. Secondly, since so much is revealed here, in such a heated scene, with dialogue coming from four different people, you can imagine how daunting it was when I finally sat down and wrote the words "Chapter Thirty-Nine". That was as far as I got on my first try.

The next occasion was a little more successful and I was able to write the first bit up until Finn catches Pippa outside the door. I had a pretty good idea of how the rest of the chapter would pan out but realised it was going to be one heck of a challenge, so I put it aside again for a more convenient time.

So this evening, after returning from work, I sat down and got writing. Pippa's emotions are all over the place here - she's scared, confused, conflicted, betrayed… you name it, she's feeling it here. Having Finn explain his relationship with Cara felt a bit cumbersome and I was exhausted even after writing that. I considered putting it aside again, then realised that to keep the tension of the scene, I would have to write the entire thing in one go.

Next came Jack's entrance. I was imagining a full blown row to escalate between him and Finn with Pippa kinda jumping up and down trying to calm everyone down but that never really happened. Jack does get angry but I've realised you don't have to be shouting at someone to seem aggressive. His (mostly) calm demeanour hopefully conveys a different type of anger to what we've seen in the past.

I felt sorry for Finn here. He's not the sort of character to get scared - hell, he's riding in the National tomorrow, he's got more balls than anyone - but Jack has such a presence about him, that it's difficult not to feel intimidated when you know you've done him wrong.

I decided to stagger his and Melissa's entrance. Otherwise it'd be too complicated with trying to explain the situation to Jack whilst having Melissa screaming her defence at the same time. Then Jack ends things with Melissa (yay for Pippa!). Him actually saying "on your bike, pal" so to speak wasn't planned. I was going to leave it up to the reader to come to this conclusion by themselves but then Jack decided to put the boot in, and as I'm a sucker for anything Jack does of his own accord, I went along with it. In a strange way, I was quite sad to see Melissa go because, as per usual, she did everything I asked of her and more - I'm going to nominate her for a fictional Oscar, I think. The only thing I hadn't thought of in great detail was how to end the chapter. The more practical side of things won over, plus the fact that I'd been writing for four hours straight and I was blimmin' hungry meant FOOD was always floating around my brain, so I decided Jack and Pippa could go for bar snacks. I felt that rounded it off nicely, and Finn has his little input here as well (also unplanned) as he witnesses Jack and Pippa getting closer for the first time. His look of sadness was in recognition of this, rather than Jack's misinterpretation. Will Finn get a happy ending - can we still love him despite his crime? I don't know - do you?

PS - Just to forewarn you, you can guess what the next chapter is going to be about and I intend to do it justice. What with studies and work, there might be another delay. I hope you'll bear with me!

10/28/2010 #82

I love that you didnt have Pippa found out straight away, but rather she dropped stuff from her bag also makes you kinda cringe that she is going to be found so I loved that. And also that it took Finn a bit of shouting in order to get Pippa to listen rather than her sitting down meekly as it showed both Pippa's passion for her new life and also Finn's desperate need to try and make himself seem like a better guy.

Also Jack's calm demeanor does make him all the scarier and the way he deals with both Finn and Melissa shows his power. I feel that he is not overly mad at Finn as he is a rational man, though he certainly will not forgive him and he will certainly never look at Melissa straight again.

Overall loved the chapter, it dealed with this very busy scene very well, so I give you a round of applause for that. My Uni schedule is just as hectic, although I am only doing Nine hours of classes I am then expected to do 2-3 hours studying for them.


10/28/2010 #83

This chapter was amazing! Well worth the wait!

I adore Finn, he's absolutely my favorite character. I'm still hoping for Pippa and Finn to end up together even though I know it's not going to happen. He's totally forgiven in my eyes, he was protecting his little sister. Being very close to my family, I know I would have done the same thing.

10/30/2010 #84
Hannah Hooton

Weh-hey! *bows to her applauding readers*. Thanks, JM! Hope you're finding a balance in studying and partying. I'm struggling with that a bit. I had my one-to-one tutorial the other day and instead of discussing my work (well, we did a bit), my tutor just told me all the best pubs in Norwich to go to!

I like the fact you liked Pippa spilling her bag contents. It's not a huge thing but it helps add a teaspoon of tension to the whole thing. I think I've created a monster with Jack. He epitomises the word 'HERO' for me. He is pure self-indulgence - I'm just lucky all you guys seem to be enjoying my indulgence! Finn's trying, isn't he (in both senses of the word)? I'm completely torn on how to end things for him. *sighs*. I have definitely become too attached to my characters (this is what happens when one has a very limited social life).

Deneanne! Welcome to the forum! Glad to have you here and even gladder to hear compliments spilling from your fingertips onto your keyboard. I know what you mean about Finn (I might not have the closest of families but I know others who do). Somehow, with Cara being his sister rather than a girlfriend or just friend, it gives him a much warmer status. We all want a big brother like that, don't we? I think Finn's so special, I might make him the hero in another book. I've just got to think of a plot that has an Irish jockey as the main character!

10/31/2010 #85

Feeling your love hehehe. It kinda helps that I'm not really a partier (spelling?), coming from a small Cornish town where there aren't really any clubs close by and not having a very big circle of friends kinda creates that, plus I'm not really one for having to travel all the way in to the centre of Bristol when I have a 9am lecture the next morning hehehe. But I hear my housemates have plenty of fun and I certainly cannot deny the greatness of pubs, I will certainly be watching the rugby in the one near us!!

It's like allowing yourself pudding when you really know you shouldn't hehehe, you can't not love the complexity of Jack's character.

Somebody else to tell you of your greatness hehehe. I definitely think a spin off story with Finn as the main character would be great, I think he needs to find love after failing to woo Pippa, it'd be really nice for him to settle down with a sweet girl and I would quite like to see Cara's character develop also.


10/31/2010 #86

I just finished reading your story and it is awesome :D

I had a feeling that something was going on with Finn and that Cara was his sister so i wasn't surprised.

But the chapter was awesome :D TAKE THAT MELISSA :D... sorry I just kinda needed to get that out :D... And I would love to see a story about Finn later on...

11/3/2010 #87

Yay, more support for a Finn story hehehe.

I think I get too wrapped up in Jack and Pippa to notice anything else, he's just so kickass.


11/3/2010 #88
Hannah Hooton

Chapter Forty:

Well, it's been a long time coming - for you, the readers and also for Pippa. But here at last we arrive at the Grand National! Well, just about. I first had to insert the dining room scene to give us a breather. But here's the dilemma: the dining room scene, which I think is needed for two reasons: to get our quota of Pippa/Jack action going but also to highlight how challenging the Grand National is (using the television preview). When I'd finished writing The Dining Room, I discovered its word count was enough to warrant being its own chapter. So I had to decide whether or not to split it from The Race, which I knew was going to make this chapter huge.

Why did I keep it all in one? Well, at 3,700 words, I think I can just about get away with this being a big chapter without it being a too big chapter. Secondly, since The Race is obviously big enough to warrant its own chapter as well, I didn't like the idea of a chapter focusing on just one thing, even if it is the Grand National we're talking about here. Also, I felt like I'd be cheating you guys a bit if I were to just post The Dining Room as an update. It contains crucial information leading up to the National but it's by no means a gripping, life-changing piece of the novel. So here you have it! The Grand National (and The Dining Room)!

I have a couple of questions for you, my trusted readers. One is: do you think I went overboard with Pippa's fears and anxieties? I wanted to make her tense and nervous but also excited. Reading it back, I get the feeling that perhaps her excitement was dwarfed by her nerves to such an extent that she was completely dreading the race rather than looking forward to it… There's a question in there somewhere, I hope you can find it!

Secondly, when we do get to The Race, for those of you non-horsy people, was it all a bit much? I'm obviously obsessed with racing and can get thoroughly carried away when writing race descriptions. But I do try to rein myself in (if you'll excuse the pun). Bear in mind, this is no ordinary race - both for the book and in real life. Usually, it takes horses over ten minutes to finish (I know because I've been youtubing past runnings and just watching six took an hour) so the descriptions would naturally be longer than other races. I'm all ears to your thoughts :)

Having said that, I hope you don't hate me because of the result. If you kind of ignore the Jack/Pippa goings on (hard I know), this whole book has been one big build-up to Peace Offering's time to shine. But I once spoke to a literary agent about my last book, At Long Odds, where everything goes right for the heroine at the end. His comment was "I like your style but just found it too predictable." So, despite not particularly enjoying writing Peace Offering's race, I guess this is how it must go. Plus, I can't have Pippa winning half a million pounds into the bargain too. Are you mad at me for building up your hopes and dashing them at the last fence? If you are then I hope you'll forgive me in the next chapter. I'm going to get started on this one right now…I have been dying to write it since the beginning…

11/15/2010 #89

It definitely works to have both the dining scene and the National in one. I don't think you went overboard on her fears either as I certainly got the excitement as well as I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation feeling exactly the same as Pippa.

I am kinda half and half, horsey but not expertly so and I found it easy to follow, I think if anything I learnt from the way you explained how they jumped and having Jack comment also on whether PO is doing it right helped to understand further.

Can't wait to see what the next chapter will bring hehehehe.


11/16/2010 #90
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