When I start a new novel I like to have several things in place:
But something wasn't right with this project. I'm rewriting an old manuscript, so I assumed I had all those things, but they weren't gelling together. Until this morning, when I was at the gym and this song came on my MP3 (yes, I'm one of those strange people who don't own an iPhone or even an iPod) and suddenly I was stopping the treadmill mid-run to scribble down a few lines.
This is the song... and one day, I'll be able to share the novel with you too.
I thought it would be fun to post up something from the novel I'm working on at the moment. Last week it was called 'The Sleeper', this week it's called 'The Solution'... Next week, who knows! It's a contemporary, psychological suspensey thing (okay, I need to work on the genre too), and I'm not going to explain what's going on here at all :-)
“What do you know about Elizabeth?” asks the doctor, and her ears prick up.
The group looks blank. They’re all there, the gang – Jeff, Charlie, Lauren; all of those who haven’t confined themselves to bed. See, this is what you’re missing, in your endless slumber.
They look blank and shake their heads. “Nothing.”
He asks, “What do you think of her?” and writes in that blasted notepad.
“Of who?” asks Charlie.
Elizabeth, from the walls, squeezed into the blue flowery wallpaper; she thinks her name sounds so musical when the doctor says it. Growing up, it was always a harsh name.
“You can’t ask us that, can you? It’s not ethical,” Jeff says this, and Elizabeth studies him now. Small darting eyes look directly at her for a second, unseeing.
The doctor shrugs.
“She’s a ghost,” says Lauren quietly. “Sometimes she’s there, but when you turn to say hello, she’s gone.”
Elizabeth shivers. She tries hard to remain here and listen.
“It’s creepy, the way she just looks at you. She never says anything,” says Charlie.
Jeff, it seems, is refusing to take part. He tuts at every comment. His legs are crossed, his arms folded against his chest. Body turned away from the group, away from Elizabeth.
The doctor pushes his glasses back up his nose. “You’ve never heard her speak? None of you?” He inspects each of them. He removes his glasses, takes notes. He crosses his leg; grey trousers ride up to show off grey socks.
They all shake their heads, these strange people grouped together precisely because they don’t belong in groups. And now being asked to nominate the strangest of them! Is Elizabeth somehow the most strange?
Am I more abnormal than these people? Have I ever drawn on my body when green pen? No. Am I a liar? No. Does the news make me shriek and wail? No.
Yes, you read correctly - yesterday I spent the whole working day on one sentence. And, no, it's still not quite right. It's the last sentence I have to write, but it's not the last sentence of the novel - that was written days ago. This sentence is at the beginning of the fourth part - and I'm asking quite of lot of it. This poor sentence has to remind people what was happening at the end of the first part, remind them how the characters would react, and bring the tone down to quietly ominous. No pressure, then :-)
How's the weather been treating you?This is how my cat is dealing with the weather!
I must admit, I'm suffering a little bit. I can't find a cool spot anywhere, which means my writing is suffering a little bit. Inside is stuffy, and if I try to take my laptop outside I need an elaborate system of extension leads because my battery is now for ornamental purposes only.
I don't want to complain about the weather, because nice sunny summers happen so rarely in the UK these days... but oh blimey, it's hot. I'm sure my brain is melting.
This draft of my current novel might take just a little longer than I expected.