So I thought I’d post today about the origins of the my work-in-progress (WIP).
NB prepare for much writer navel gazing:)
A bit of background: I’ve written stories for as long as I could remember. Even as a child I was always fanciful. Why tell a story about a cat, when it could be a cat who was the secret emperor of the universe, and whose unholy weakness was having his stomach scratched. Why tell a story of women waking up from a coma when it could be the story of women called Mimsy. With amnesia. Who everyone thinks is a prostitute. But that actually her identical twin, Limsy. (Sadly this is all true apart from the names Limsy/Mimsy – I was a very strange child)
This story started as all the others did with an idea. Or rather a memory, a boy and a girl on a bridge and a knife. I can remember the day so clearly, it was summer and I was walking home from work and the idea popped into my brain. I’d had ideas like this before. I knew that it would torment me, play over and over again like a scratched tape until I wrote it down. My witchy muse is relentless until I obey her.
So I played around with it. But I couldn’t decide how well if at all the boy and girl knew each other. There was no antagonist just nameless formless evil.
A couple of months later a character came fully formed into my head. I knew what he looked like (golden like the sun and just as dazzling), how he sounded (like a young Alan Rickman) and what he wanted. He wanted into this story, so I wrote him in.
The plot grew around these three characters. And then all the while this story was percolating in my head and it grew into a trilogy. I knew very clearly what I wanted to accomplish in the second book. But in the first book beyond the opening scene and the end, I didn’t know where I wanted the characters to go.
Then almost a year on from that initial idea I had an idea. I was just about to turn 25 and it suddenly dawned on me that if I wanted to write a book, I should write a book. Simple, non?
Previously I had always believed that all I needed to do was wait around for my witchy muse to send me the ideas and write them down and my career as a glorious writer would be assured. And yes maybe if I had sat around waiting for inspiration to strike eventually many looooooooooooonnng years later I would have finished my novel. But it struck me that a more practical way of doing things would be to try and write even when I didn’t feel like writing.
This may seem very obvious but for me it was paradigm altering. Being such an avid reader I had always had a very romantic view of the writer as artist. I’d glossed over all that work stuff (too much like, well, work).
Also motivating me was that I was now working with two other people who were also trying to write. Despite having busy lives and young children they wrote in the evenings and at
weekends – all my excuses were dissolving
So I gathered together everything I had and started writing. Of course having thought about this story for over a year I had a over 7,000 words which was immediately heartening. I tried to write everyday fitting in writing on lunch breaks, in the evenings, and at weekends.
There were bumps along the way the first time I wrote blind (not knowing where the story was going), when I hit the Great Swampy Middle. I loved it. It was so much fun to absorb myself in a world completely of my making. And as the story grew the sheer weight of the words motivated me.
I finished the first draft early this year. And although I’m waist deep in revisions and doubting everything that sense of exhilaration is still with me. I love writing. And I hope I never forget that.