I have been enjoying reading Kim’s posts about the evolution of her short story The Shoes from an idea into a Loomidob (technical term).
Here’s the first post and here’s the second one. Both well worth reading for an insight into what happens when you are drafting, editing and reading-like-a-writer all at the same time. I am curious about it because it shows a writer very aware of her own process and I’m not sure if that’s the effect of writing something inside the confines of an academic course, of because that’s the way this particular writer is.
I think I’d like to write something like that for the way I worked on Cold Light but it would be all lies in retrospect and my process is so messy and trial and error that, like the insides of my cupboards, I’d be ashamed to let anyone see it. I would dearly love to know what I am doing when it goes well so that I can do it again, but it hasn’t worked out like that so far. Although it has improved slightly.
Last week when I was fretting over the impossibility of writing another novel, I remembered things about lists and diaries and time off and CALM and resting and ‘we don’t get paid much, so it’s okay to have lies in and take afternoons off when you need to’ which are all things I learned when I was being mentored, and help a lot still.
Yesterday afternoon I did CALM typed up all my notes about number three (need to call it something – I called Cold Light number two for ages, but only because that was comedy gold) and arranged them into a rough synopsis. I’m challenging myself to develop a structure – to decide about things like point of view and tense and time-scale first rather than let it evolve on it’s own. That’s because I want to do something a little bit more complicated and challenging this time and I have an idea for the sort of thing I would like to try. I have not done it before. I don’t know if I can.
CALM CALM CALM
I also made a list of things that I need to research. Lists are excellent.
I will spend what time I have to read and work over the summer finding out about:
Crufts. The various categories, how you enter, how much you win, what the day is like.
My two settings: Salt Lake City, Utah and Chorley, Lancashire.
Being a Post Man. Secrets and tricks of the trade.
Long term faecal incontinence caused by unresolved birth injuries.*
That’s about it for now. My agent needed to see my plan and hear about the next book. When I told him about it he said it sounded ‘fab’ and very ‘Ashworthian’ which is I think a good sign.
It is no wonder I am not working very well. I am a cocktail of gestation hormones. I can’t sit at my desk without a person head-butting me in the ribs. I had a bad dream last night that the Mr had touched, moved or otherwise disturbed my ludicrous pile of cot-blankets (it will be summer, and McTiny will be sleeping with me anyway… pointless blankets) and woke up so angry I had to poke him awake, shout at him and then check the blankets.
No-one can produce the great British novel under these circumstances.
*note to self – do not google this until Later This Year.