Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Starting a new novel

It was little over six weeks ago that the first idea came to me. I had just sent Escaping Life to the editors and I was out on a hike in the mountains of Cyprus that following weekend. It can be a lonely place. On a given Saturday in Cumbria in the UK when I was out hiking in rare fine weather you could almost guarantee some passing company.  I could collect good morning greetings that were offered out in warm northern English accents as people appeared from the persistent mist that invariably clung to the summits. But in Cyprus it's quiet. Twenty two kilometres of forest and ridge walking, and the only company was our own.

So this is always a good time to think. Ideas spring out from nowhere, whole characters and plot lines, infantile and in need of work, but rich and varied ideas. It is a chance to day dream and let my mind run free until there is something tangible to snatch at and keep. Once that first idea is there, the process to mould it into something workable can be all consuming, taking that early primitive idea and turning it into something grander and more refined. This is my very favourite part of writing. Starting a new novel. The buzz and the fresh feeling will last at least until 20,000 words, when you can feed off the excitement and adrenaline of the new beginning and the birth of new characters and plot. It's the honeymoon period of a new relationship, when all you see are the good things. In this time you don't see the faults and flaws.  At this point it is almost impossible to see the reality of the future.  It is unthinkable to consider that it will ever feel like hard work.  You don't see this until later on, when everything feels more comfortable and stops trying so hard. My characters are still trying hard. I have at least another 15,000 words until the work begins and choices have to be made. Is this right? Is this what I want? Can this work long term? The compromises begin, the apologies too, and all of the other ingredients that are neccesary to make something last.  To make something real.

The new beginnings are there to be enjoyed. They should be cherished and cared for. It is the foundation that without it, nothing else can be built. But it is the reality that comes afterwards that keeps things strong. It is coming through the tough times that makes, or breaks. Right now I am just going to enjoy this new beginning because it is these happy memories that when it gets tougher and difficult days present themselves they will keep me afloat. Buoyed by these moments of ease, I will write my way through the darker days and remember that it is these times that make something stronger.

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