Last month, following the advice of a professional within the book trade, I resolved to write a synopsis to help me see where I could add more to the book, which needs to be longer by around 50% of its current length.
As part of this, I sent the manuscript as it stands to my very close friend Will, who also writes for a living and has particular expertise in television. As a result, I now have developed a much stronger plot - but it is significantly different from the current story, and involves a complete rethink of one of the main supporting characters.
In fact, it is so different that it feels a bit like starting from scratch - and I've seriously considered abandoning all the writing so far and literally opening a new blank document. Hardly the most encouraging thought, and such thoughts are usually swiftly followed by a strong urge to forget the whole thing. Which is swiftly followed by a large glass of wine.
A core problem that Will pointed out is that the main storyline - the love story between Chloe and Freddie - doesn't really work. It happens too late, too incidentally, and too un-satisfyingly. There is not enough emotional investment in their relationship, and not enough at stake for readers to particularly care why they should be together.
Instead, there's an awful lot of stuff about wine - which confirms something I was trying to avoid. My intention was always to write a book in which wine was the context, rather than the story, but that's not what I've ended up with.
However, I've continued working on the synopsis, and have designed a much better romance storyline, based on the story structure that Will told me about here. It feels a bit hackneyed and unoriginal to copy a formula for storytelling, but this is how so many great stories are structured, I'd be stupid to deny it.
The net result is that I don't quite need to start from scratch, but I will need to change something like 90% of the text as it stands - as well as writing at least 20,000 new words.