It’s about time!
How long is it since I began writing a brand new novel? I’d guess at somewhere approaching eight years. In the meantime of course, I’ve co-written about fifteen hours of television scripts and have finally finished off The Third Rule, but the thought of crafting a brand new novel has grown to become quite alien to me. And even a little scary.
Angel is the working title of the new book, and it features our old friend Eddie Collins who’s making a welcome return as lead character.
But it hasn’t been going as smoothly as I’d hoped it would. And it has taken me a month to work out why.
I know my characters as though they were my family. So they’re no problem. I know my genre very well but what has perplexed me is the story. Usually, I nurture a story idea and am quite happy running with an incomplete idea, filling in the gaps on the way through to the end. Not so with Angel strangely enough.
I’m used to writing complex stories with a stack of subplots running through them but this thing has got me pulling out my hair in lumps. I don’t need to know the ending when I begin writing (actually I prefer not to know), but I do need to know what the story is about! Angel was simply too vague an idea to begin writing anything more than a few vague scenes. It’s now 0610, and it’s taken me all night to work out the details, to get some specifics down on paper.
Those odd scenes and odd chapters I’d already written were simply snapshots of things that had been spinning around inside my head for the last month or two, and now, thankfully, I know what their purpose actually is. After tonight’s deep probing, I have finally established the story proper.
Of course, I never was very good at detailing what happens in a story from start to finish, that’s one of the things I most enjoy about writing, how it takes you by surprise. So there are still plenty of holes to fill in, and plenty of surprises to encounter, and that is good.
I’m hoping to grab some sleep shortly, and then I can settle down, at ease with where things are heading, and once again melt into the keyboard as I used to do in the good old days when the thoughts inside my head, the words of the people I could see in there, would magically appear on the screen.