I’m back after a week in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. It’s been a relaxing few days with the opportunity to distance myself from everything going on at home. However as any of you who are writers know, writing is something you never quite separate yourself from no matter where you are. As human beings there’s always something going on in our heads, whether it’s what to cook for the next meal, deciding whether to buy that expensive pair of shoes we saw yesterday, what to watch on TV tonight or in my case, the situation with my current work in progress.
I have to confess I did try really hard to fight the whole thing; to tell myself the time for becoming a writer again was on the 18th when we returned home. However, I found it impossible. I was thinking about various issues with the book all the way there, all the way back, and in lots of bits in between. Before we came away, I closed down on that last evening with the end of the current chapter unfinished, basically because whatever I wrote simply didn’t sit right. Oh it seemed to work but seeming for me isn’t the end of the deal. I have to be sure I’m happy…really happy before I close off and move on to write the next chapter. Writing from home is great but it has to sit alongside everything else. The day has to be planned; meals prepared, domestic stuff done and of course I need time out to socialise. Therefore writing fits into the bigger plan, it has its place but alongside everything else going on in my life. So a week away with my other half to the exclusion of everyone else was a godsend, It allowed my mind a clear run on how everything in my writing world was progressing. Without any distraction I could sit back, analyse and put a few things down on the pad I’d brought with me. Although we had no wifi in the area except in a few of the local pubs, I also took the laptop along to use as a word processor as I don’t trust my scribble if left more than a day! The solution to the end of the chapter I had been working on came within the first few days of the holiday and I used my spare moments when not out and about to sit down and outline the scene. A second and necessary earlier scene for that chapter followed and both were typed up and inserted into the manuscript which I carried on a USB stick. Result!
Another thing that had been niggling me was the surname of one of the central characters. When I first chose it I felt it balanced well with his first name. However, I soon began to feel it simply didn’t sit right on the character I was visualising. On occasions I’m stuck like this a car journey can turn out to be priceless and street name signs invaluable. I had to wait until Wednesday as we were going through one particular town for luck to strike. I saw the sign, knew that was what I’d been waiting for and that was it! One more thing which could be crossed off the ‘To Do’ list.
Wouldn’t it be marvellous to plan a book and simply write it? In some ways I guess I envy those who have that journey with everything set from that first initial step into Chapter One to THE END. Or do I? No actually I don’t. The excitement for me in writing is the unknown; in that spark of new ideas as you reach a particular scene and decide how you will play it – from whose perspective and where the action takes place. What I also tend to do while working on a book is change hats. Being an avid reader as well as a writer, I like to step back and look at what I’m doing from the reader’s viewpoint. Is the story plausible? Is the dialogue right? Are the characters physically working the scene correctly. It may be simple things but collectively they are so important. I’ve read many books where I’ve thought ‘No, he wouldn’t do that.’ or ‘hang on, this character has just taken off his coat – twice.’ Of course these errors should be picked up when the manuscript is edited (or not, in the case of the character taking off his coat not once but twice in the same scene!), for me it’s simply part of my personal writing process.
The jury is still out on whether this WIP is going to make one or two books. The time span for the novel is in two distinct years – 2007 and present day which lends itself quite neatly to a split should I choose to go down that road. The way the first part is shaping – now sitting at just over 81,000 words I would say yes we are probably looking at two books. If not then I’ve got another large book on my hands which I need to avoid if I want a sensibly priced paperback version. I do like to keep a hard copy of the book and there are some friends who still avoid Kindle, although Amazon sales are almost 100% electronic downloads. This will mean another book cover of course. I have already sorted the one for Summer Moved On. I find creating the cover is almost as exciting as writing, I absolutely love getting involved. My designer Jane Dixon Smith is amazing – and she’s also an author in her own right.
I’ve some research to do as well into running a stud as horse breeding figures in the second part of the book. Basic background knowledge regarding stud farms is something I can probably pick up locally as we’ve several in the area but that’s for later in the year and on the back burner at the moment.
So that’s it. Not giving anything away about plot or characters only to say I’m pleased with the cast and the story. Now to get back to the most important thing of all – the writing!
Have a good week – back next weekend!