Last night, I dreamt I was going to write an autobiography of Daniel Defoe. Stupid unconscious. I’m not going to write it – even if it were possible.
What I am doing is entering the second stage of my latest writing project.
I started one earlier this year. Using the book Ready, Set, Novel, I got some way into writing a whole new story. Then, in September, I went to the York Writer’s Festival and changed my mind.
The festival gave me a renewed sense of enthusiasm. I got encouragement from an agent and publisher and attended some interesting workshops. One piece of advice stuck away. ‘Write as if no one’s going to read it.’
Having spent the last few months planning and writing a novel under the pressure of how it would be received, this was good advice.
I dumped the old idea and started again. Using an image that came to me during meditation, I wrote characters as they appeared and followed them where they wanted to go. Or, wherever seemed most interesting.
25,000 words later, I began to feel a need for direction. I went back to the Ready, Set, Novel and did the ‘What is the Novel’s Core?’ exercise: trying to find a short sentence to summarise what the novel might be about.
With five characters, all of whom could be the lead, I decided to write brief synopses with each, in turn, as the main character. It soon became clear who the lead was. All the other characters became part of her story. And, what followed was an interesting synopsis.
A final element from York was the suggestion to read Albert Zuckerman’s How to Write a Blockbuster. This is the kind of idea I like. A ‘What If?’ that suggests a new structure. Already, the idea of setting it within an existing or past political event is appealing.
Don’t be surprised if I you see another blog post in a couple of months describing yet another new start. But, I don’t know…