Thursday, 3 February 2011

Halfway Party! - 21st July 2010

Guess what! As of yesterday I am half way through my novel! Hurrah! I can tell you, dear readers, that it has been an almighty slog. I liken it to climbing a mountain of epic proportions, one of those ones that lives under the sea and spews out molten lava all the time (Scientific FACT. Errrrr….)
Firstly, there is the mountain of doubt to climb. Standing there at the bottom, that mountain is very tall indeed. There are so many people telling you of the great trials ahead, warning you that you may never get there. And then there is little old you, with nothing but an A4 piece of paper in your hand with your random scribblings to guide you (that you made up anyway). It’s like climbing Kilimanjaro with a sketch you knocked up sitting at the bottom of it. I can tell you it feels plain stupid at times.
Secondly, there are all the early mornings, the extensive training. So many days have I sat, staring bleary eyes at the computer screen and thinking ‘Why?! Why won’t you write yourself?!’ before staggering to work, narrowly missing being hit by traffic in my comatose state.
Thirdly, there are horrible set backs where you realise you’ve wandered down completely the wrong path and, suddenly, you’re at the bottom of the mountain again. How is that even possible? But it happens, time and again. And so you get up extra early the next day to start again, weeping silently the whole way (ok, perhaps that is slightly dramatic). But the view from half way up is so lovely that I now can’t wait to see it from the top. I’m having such a great time and I have completely exhausted my mountain metaphor, so that in itself is a job well done.
The half way point is also a very exciting point of the story to be writing, so I’m glad to have reached it. It is what I have been building up to and what the rest of the novel will recover from. I won’t drop you a spoiler but I will say it had me near on weeping over my toast this morning. I hope to make you cry in due course.
I will, however, give you a little sneaky peak of the star of the show, Isobel. Isobel is the main character in the novel and there were two major points of revelation for me that really brought her to life. The first was what gave me the idea for the story in the first place. I went for an interview at Buckingham Palace (I know, randomness) and one of the rooms they took me through had boarded windows and dust everywhere. It was so run down that I couldn’t believe that I was in the Palace at all. Even I wouldn’t keep my house like that! And in the midst of that chaos (and interview panic) I saw in my mind, clear as day, a girl about my age sitting bolt upright in a chair, staring at the boarded windows. I thought about that image for six months and then wrote a short story, a poem and a play about it, finally culminating in this novel. The whole book is based around that girl and what brings her to be in that moment.
The second major incident was when I went to an amazing print shop in Oxford and found this image.
 I have no idea who she really is but when I picked it up, I saw Isobel. This picture now sits on my desk, next to my plan for the novel and reminds me of who she is when I try to write in her voice every day.
I know there is an awfully long way to go but for now I’m going to celebrate because, in case you hadn’t picked it up already, I’m halfway there!!!!

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