Finishing Touches — A Less Than Perfect Transformation

This project began over several dinners with a friend. It started as a vague tossed-around idea involving a plucky girl with an eccentric scientist father. The characters were estranged, thrown back into each others lives and somehow having to work out how to get along and rebuild their relationship. After many such dinners, my friend said: “When are you actually going to start writing this thing?” He made a good point. It was easy to talk about a story idea. Not so easy to write. So I got started.

The book started as several scenes written while I was travelling on the bus to my day job in outer London. The more I wrote, the more I realised the real story started earlier. The events leading up to the reunion of father and daughter was a story in itself. That’s how this manuscript was born.

Now, several years later — more than I’d care to admit — I’m thirteen pages away from completing the final polishing touches (and probably not the absolute last — who am I kidding?). The manuscript has been through the following:

  • innumerable edits
  • two overseas moves
  • three major rewrites
  • one storyline extraction
  • the birth of three babies
  • the removal of one major character and several minor ones
  • a major career change
  • 30,000-40,000 words of killed darlings

I’m almost ready to kiss this project a temporary goodbye and send it off into the exciting (and scary) world of querying. Some days I feel overwhelmed and terrified at the prospect. But tonight I feel hopeful. I think it has something to do with the songs I’m playing — the ones that have kept me company and inspired during the editing process. My manuscript playlist. I’m not sure whether there are rules regarding songs being age-appropriate for the target readership, but not all of the songs are suitable for Upper-MG readers. I chose them because they all remind me of my main character for one reason or another: whether that be her resilience, the vulnerability she tries to hide, or her fun side.

I’m looking forward to focusing on some new and in-progress projects, but A Less Than Perfect Transformation will always be my first-born — the story that came with me on the journey of how to be a writer.

A Less Than Perfect Transformation — the playlist

Titanium — David Guetta (featuring Sia)

I’ll Go Crazy — Bluejuice (explicit)

Somebody’s Talking — The Preatures

Alibi — Banks

My Heart is a Wheel — Megan Washington

Tongue Tied — Grouplove

Runaway — Mr Little Jeans

Recover — CHVRCHES

I Love It — Hilltop Hoods, Sia

11th Dimension — Julian Casablancas

Pray to God — Calvin Harris (featuring Haim)

Stand Still — Flight Facilities

Heart’s a Mess – Gotye

Breathe Me — Sia

There’s Nothing in the Water — Cloud Control

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Alison Whipp

Lawyer. Writes Middle Grade and YA. Known to cackle raucously at 13 y.o. boy-humour. Partial to baked goods of the sweet variety.
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