I’ve booked two weeks off the day job at the start of December. For those two weeks, my daughter’s at school, and my wife’s at work. I’ll be here in the study, writing.
On Saturday 4th, whatever else I’m writing stops, and a new novel starts. From then until December 19th, my job is to get as many words on the page as humanly possible. I’m not sure I’ll get the book finished in that fortnight, but I want to be well on the way. I’ll also share the process, whether it goes well or not, with you throughout – in fact, with this book, I intend to share everything, through the blog, until the distant day when (hopefully) a novel’s published. The preparation, the writing, the editing, the submissions, the rejections. All of it. I already blog snippets of what I’m up to as a writer, of course, but this time the door’s open, and you’re invited into the whole thing. I’ve no idea whether it will be gripping reading or not, but if nothing else, you’ll end up with a pretty good idea of how this all works for me. The only thing I won’t share is the words I write (you’ll have to wait until it’s published for that).
While I decided to do this a couple of weeks ago, until yesterday I had no idea what book I’d actually be writing. Then, halfway through my shift at the day job, the muse dropped a bomb out of the blue. Not a little bomb, either. It wasn’t a concept or character that popped into my consciousness, something that could perhaps be developed further. No, it was the whole thing – plot, characters, setting – a book that instantly wanted to get itself written down, and left me breathless and a bit dizzy. I loved the idea, instantly. I was a mess for much of the rest of the day – I’m sure numerous colleagues wondered why I kept grinning maniacally to myself – as the idea settled, and shifted, and made room for itself inside my head. When I got home, I even ran various keywords through Google – it’s one of those ideas I want to read so much, I was sure somebody must already have written it.
They haven’t, thank god, so I will.
I won’t spoil the story itself, but one thing I’m happy to share is that it takes place in Edinburgh, in the dying days of the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, history has never been a strong suit of mine. While I retain interesting nuggets and random facts easily enough, the big picture always escapes me. That means the research has to start today, if I intend to be at the writing stage by the 4th. I’ve got a couple of books here, picked up in Edinburgh during the summer, that will give me a start, but if you know of any good reference books for Edinburgh life around this time, I’ll happily take them!
In the meantime, I’ll make good on what I have, and start digging around the Interweb for more. I’ve also started the hunt for the book’s soundtrack – which will probably be a soundtrack from a movie or TV series. Something with the right moods through it, that I can put on when I sit down in the morning, as an audio shortcut into the world of the novel. When I wrote Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow, I did so listening to the soundtrack of The Dark Knight, by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. So far, I don’t know what to use for the new novel (which is untitled so far, but I’ll come up with a working one for discussion’s sake), so it’s time to start digging through my iPhone for inspiration.