As I mentioned in my previous post, I have now time to write, specifically, after the kids have gone to bed. It’s odd because I am able to do many things while the kids are running around my legs. I can study, I can write my assignments, I can cook, clean the kitchen, do the washing, but putting words down on paper (read screen) in a creative manner, I am just unable to do it.
So after 19.30, after I’ve put my son in his cot-bead and I have read my daughter a story (after which she always says ‘three stories, mummy’) and given her that hug and kiss she asks me for every night, I come back downstairs and sit in this corner of the sofa in which I am right now, the one we have in the kitchen and start writing.
There is a plan behind this madness though. Because I would like to finish this by the end of the year, I have set myself a goal of 600 words a day. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I am pretty sure I’ll have ten rejection letters before George RR Martin graces us with any more murdering of our beloved characters. Mind me, so many have died I am not sure anybody cares about the ones that are left. Anyway… 600 words a day, each one of which is like pulling a stubborn tooth out of a very badly deformed mouth. At least right up until word 500 or so, after which I seem to hit the sweet spot and get into a fluidity of creation that could go on for hours. Unfortunately, it can’t, because my children don’t understand that mummy was writing till two in the morning and she can’t get up at 7am when, quote, ‘the sun is up!’, so I stop at a reasonable hour and go to bed in preparation for the early morning.
One rule, though, if for whatever reason I haven’t written my words one day (like last night, because I couldn’t be bothered, really) I have to make up for it the following one or two days.
What I am currently writing is a young adult novel. It is not, however, because I specially love the genre or even because it’s so successful. No, the fact is, I’ve written three versions of the same story for adults and it simply doesn’t work. In my head, I kept coming back to this version for young adults and eventually decided to go for it. It’s odd to write because all of my other projects have been and are for adults. It is a new experience for me.
I didn’t go in blindly though, I did plan ahead. I used an amended version (amended by me) of the snowflake method to plan my novel and I am steadily working through that. I am going now to explain (very briefly) what it is about and please be aware that I feel incredibly nervous about sharing this. I don’t speak about it to anybody, but two people. My very best friend in the world and a really good friend from my volunteer times who was the unlucky recipient of my very first draft of this story, years and years ago. My husband asks me about it all the time and I never tell him because talking about it out loud makes it even weirder.
So here goes nothing.
The story is a sort of urban fantasy that occurred to me while thinking about the old stories and legends. Gods of Lightning and the sun, witches and wizards, werewolves, angels, demons, vampires, etc… what if they were all different names for one single type of supernatural being, whose powers simply manifest differently? And what would these people be doing nowadays? They are as old as humanity itself but until recently they lived dispersed in society and only now have they come together in one community. This is the background in which my main character, Marianne, comes to be.
In my initial story Marianne was an adult character who came to the rescue of a close friend at the start of the story. The thing is, as I said, it didn’t work. The whole story was very muddled and I was just never happy with it, no matter how many times I re-wrote it. Half way through my last attempt I had the idea of making it into a young adult novel. I put that aside for quite some time, finished that draft of the novel in adult version, but editing just showed me how much it didn’t work. So I dropped it and left it there for a very long time. It’s only now that I have stopped working that I have picked it up again. Whenever I started thinking about writing again I thought of simply starting my next project (for which I am currently doing research) but it felt wrong to have done so many attempts at this story, a story that has lived with me for so many years, and not give it a real go, with proper planning.
I don’t want to disclose many details though, because even this minuscule amount of sharing feels terrifying and I stop writing this every couple of sentences to spend a few minutes staring blankly at the screen while biting my nails and picturing all sort of things in my head.
I’ll publish this before I panic and delete everything!