Four hundred more words were born yesterday, and I’m going to aim for the same today. I’m even – almost – looking forward to it, which is something new. I’m having the most operatic and detailed dreams at the moment and am wondering if it’s because I’m tapping into a new part of my brain during the day? Either that or I’m drinking too much: when attempting to write it is essential to have several beverages on the go at all times during the course of the writing day. Yesterday I imbibed six glasses of sparkling water, three mugs of rooibos tea, one can of diet coke, and two glasses of red wine. Thus the brain is kept watered, ensuring the synapses are oiled and firing!
The other day Amber asked: How did you settle on the idea and plot for your novel? Did you have it all worked out before or did it come along as you wrote?
Well, what began as a collection of essays about grief has now morphed into a work of fiction, a story based on the last three years of my life. It was my agent who suggested I turn the ‘story’ into fiction when we first met last year. She thought my style of writing would be better suited to a novel, and that that way the words would find more readers. When I wrote the 4,000w synopsis (needed to send to prospective publishers, along with the sample chapters) I had to craft a storyline, one that at the time seemed to be written off the top of my head, though now I’m honing it and developing different areas. It would be lovely to think I could just sit down and see where my fingers take me, but I’m beginning to understand the benefits of having an outline with signposts guiding my way. Slowly, slowly, these characters are taking on a life of their own; no longer him and me, but rather him and her, two people I care for and am watching with fascination as their story unfolds. I only wish their love story had a happier ending…
The Author to Her Book
Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to the press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat in print should mother call.
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight.
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet.
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save homespun cloth in the house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars may’st thou roam;
In critic’s hands beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none,
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.
~ Anne Bradstreet, (after 1650, before 1672)
For more poetic inspiration, go here