I started a new novel today. It’s been brewing away for about five years now, getting ready for the page, and this evening I dipped my toe in. About three pages of detailed notes on characters, backdrop, and the first thirteen chapters, with a few loose notes about the thirty-nine or so that follow. I even wrote the very start of the first chapter, an impressive hundred and forty-two words*. Tentative, but happy, work. And because the opening paragraphs of almost everything I write get sliced out in the first redraft, I’ll even share.
Drumming, drumming. Raindrops smashing on tarmac, wet explosions on the rippling surface water. Pavements smeared by day, pummelled clean by the night downpour.
Sunday night, almost morning. The deadest hours, and the drumming.
The black van swam through the night, headlights bright, the engine hushed and the wipers slicing. Predatory, it turned into the tree-lined cul-de-sac. Ignoring polite semi-detached houses cowering behind sodden front gardens, it curved with the road to the wide end point, the turning place.
Headlights glared at a ground floor window, catching spears of rain on the way. Reflections shone back from the glass.
Gears shifted, the van reversed, custom tires gripping the road with ease as the three point turn began, headlights sweeping more windows, low walls, bedraggled shrubs and trees. Shadows stretched and withered away beneath their gleam. Nobody looked. Nobody saw.
Copyright Richard Wright 2009, obviously. All rights reserved, too.
The novel, if it gets where I want it to, is easily the most ambitious, complex thing I’ve devised, and has brewed for a long time, gaining depth. I’m very, very excited to have started it, even so gently. For the purposes of writing about it, I’ll call it In Progress just now. I know what it’s really called, but I’ll keep it to myself just now, as these things often change. I want to finish it while I still live in the UK, so we’ll see how it develops in the next few (already bloody busy) months.
*Yes, I know the wordmeter thing says 139 words. I edited it as I was formatting… it’s a first draft. This will happen a lot…