The view from my window is a city I have never seen before. It had a sunset sky last night of surpassing magnificance, mounds of gold and pearl cloud against pale blue, pink, lavender. We walked the calm streets and found a restaurant with marble tables set with lemon and tomato. I drank prosecco and he drank gin and tonic and the food was perfect fish. We wake this morning, this day, to this city to see a play about a virtuoso pianist who went mad for a while but then got better, at a place called Three Minute Theatre. This is not a fantasy, although I do often dream I am in an unknown city. This is Manchester. #TellYourStory 21 June 2017 National Writing Day @WriteDay
Tricky to figure timings and timeline when a pregnancy, a coma, a death, a post mortem, a funeral and a birth are involved… Now I see why writers stick things all over their walls. I’ve done three A4 pages horizontally stuck together, using a calendar to count out the days and events. I wonder if this will work.
Okay! Connections made between characters, the two story points-of-view meet in the draft. Now I have to stop and smooth and put the three voices — T, J & fairytale storytelling into one flow. Then go forward. This is a big turning point in the novel (both writing and reading it!). Do the voices work? When I go from T to J, J feels slow. When I’m with J and go back to T, J feels deep and interesting and T feels shallow or a bit cliché and fast. BUT it IS an adventure to write. I don’t know if it will all fit together. Must work out dates, days, weeks.
Speaking of three — spring tulips here doing their dramatic ballet.
I can’t flow without facts. T doesn’t exist in a vacuum. She is not a name on a page. She is worried, scared, angry. And she is looking for her husband. Worse: she’s been lying about him. So I have to know where he was meant to be. Two hours on Google maps and Wikipedia: what are the minerals in Kazakstan (and how do you spell it?), where else would he go to get the muds and the plants for the spa, rare and exotic. Finally I get T back to her husband’s inbox scrolling through and finding Tashkent — and eeek it’s time for me to make dinner. For real I mean, not on the page.
I discover later that it will make things too easy if she can get at his emails, so decide that it’s all on his laptop which he’s taken with him. And she doesn’t know the passwords to his accounts. … Nyah-ha-ha (rubs hands and twirls moustache) I know another way that will reveal his intended locations, but T and reader will have to wait. NaNoWriMo Discovery Draft continues!
And we’re off! 1st November, day one of National Novel Writing Month. I’m bending the rules of this wonderful writing invention, using it to continue the novel I’m well sunk into. It is extremely a Discovery Draft, a gentle crime mystery featuring a storytelling-therapist. Sometime I know exactly where I’m going. And sometimes I’m lost. And sometimes I learn something I didn’t know at all and totally surprise myself! I haven’t written in this way before — truly an adventure. Never sure what will happen next (a) in the story (b) in the writing progress. Right now feeling quite disorganised (but better since I mapped a Timeline), when that happens I revert to pen and paper. Using November to push-push-push myself. Click HERE if you need to know more about NaNoWriMo. Do it with writing buddies — it really really works. Not that you actually get a novel done in a month. But it’s far better than not getting a novel done at all.
Fascinating. I asked in Facebook if I dare re-tell a fairy/folk tale in my new novel, and a whole bevy of friends from widely varied walks of life urged me: Yes! They are witness to the eternal appeal of fairytales (or more correctly folktales) and it was great encouragement to embarking on the writing journey. I’m delighted to discover #folklorethursday on Twitter, yet more witness.
Thing is, the novel is also a crime story, but with no gore, so really it’s more of a mystery… with some police procedure and the main character sucked in to being an amateur detective. She’s a story-telling therapist. This brings in archetypes, so I get to treat myself to my shelves of Jung, Joseph Campbell, hero’s journey… as well as Grimm, Jane Yolen, Marina Warner and more.
A Body of Knowledge is set in Chiswick. Great fun to see the place where I live through my character’s eyes and sensibilities. So now you are on the writing journey with me as I blog on about the everyday struggles of writing a novel. The fellow pictured here is Birdren Boy, one of my sculptural papiermache pieces. He’s on a quest. So am I. Are you?