Friday, 15 April 2011

I'm getting this feeling that somewhere in my brain the entire plot of this novel is planned out. The story arcs are all there, the characters are fully formed and someone knows where it's going. Each day I sit down to write a little bit more and often it's really hard to drag something out. Then suddenly something just appears as if it were a giant map in total darkness and one searchlight goes on. That's all I get - one pool of light. I scribble it all down - I'm back to writing longhand these days because it just seems...right. What I've written is sometimes surprising and often sends me off in a whole new direction of thinking about how these characters behave towards each other. 

I so wanted to be totally organised and plan things out properly just like Iain Banks, I really did. It seems though that I rather like an organic feel to much of what I'm doing. Each day I reflect on the thousand or so words I've churned out and how that's going to fit into this Great Plan I have outlined. 

The best bit about it is that I wrote the end some years ago - that's all there complete and set in jelly. I know where I'm going but each day brings new ideas of how to get there. It's still entertaining me too and that's the most important bit of it all, after all, we are our own first reader. So I keep coming back to pondering how She ended up behaving like that. What was it, what is it that makes us the way we are? 

Today I also received a new book from Amazon - Daniel Defoe's 'A Journal of the Plague Year'. There is a small church locally that stands alone, a good half a mile away from the centre of the village. Apparently this happened to a few churches throughout the UK. Various plagues hit and as villages were decimated so the people left the infected houses or burned them down and settled further away, leaving the stone churches to ruin. Once the Victorians came along they often rebuilt and revitalised the church but by that time instead of being at the heart of the village these churches stand in splendid isolation. 

What's all that got to do with the novel? Well the opening scene (at the moment) is set in a churchyard. I used this local churchyard because it's always better to go and write from direct experience. Then I became fascinated with this idea of isolation from the community - it's a theme that runs through the novel too. So now I'm tentatively researching the plague. It may never appear in the novel. Or it may end up being very important. Just now I don't really know...and I like that. 

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