Way back in October 2010, I signed up for an Open University creative writing course, with a good friend of mine, who is also a writer. The very first assignment was to write a 1500 word short story, on any theme. The idea for my story came from a conversation I had with my husband about magical tech support for wizards in Harry Potter. The course tutor wasn’t wildly impressed, but my friend’s response was, “You could develop this into a novel. I’d want to read it – write me a novel, based in this world!”
So I did. And, oh, how easy those three little words make it sound. In actual fact, I didn’t finish the first draft until September 2015, during a glorious week on an Arvon novel-writing retreat at Lumb Bank in Hebden Bridge. Five years of adding a bit more to the original story, gradually developing the world, adding a bit more, working out the overall arc plot, adding a bit more, bringing in new characters and a couple of sub-plots, adding a bit more, and so on.
I can’t say I approached writing my novel in a very systematic way. I didn’t plot it all out beforehand (I find if I do that, I get bored with the story and don’t want to write it), I didn’t set aside specific times to write (though I have learned since that this is a very good idea), and I didn’t have any idea how long it would be when I’d finished (I’m still not sure about that). I just forged ahead from that little story, and let it take me where it would.
Along the way, the characters did some very unexpected things (I love it when they take control), the plot expanded out to include some quite serious themes (though the story itself is still pretty light overall), and the possibility of a sequel reared its terrifying head (just don’t ask me how that’s going).
On this blog, I intend to talk about the process of writing my novel – both what I’ve already achieved, and what comes next. I’ll post news about my other writing projects, and hopefully soon details of some publications that actually contain my writing!
My focus in 2015 was on finishing the first draft of my novel (which I did), and my focus in 2016 is on getting my writing out into the world. My little corner of the writing universe has recently become quite an exciting place, with lots of little successes that I hope will eventually lead to bigger things. But getting distracted by the shiny opportunities of short story writing is a dangerous thing, and I don’t want to lose sight of the novel in the process. I believe in the novel, and I think it deserves more care and attention than I have given it of late, so this regular update of my progress on it is designed to give me the motivation to have something positive to say each time I post!
I invite you to join me on my literary journey – I very much hope it will be fun!