Finding Time To Write and Finishing My Novel Manuscript, by Fiona McDonald
Stuck in No-Man’s Land. Where, oh where, has my novel gone? I’m so tired I don’t know how to think.
May and June have been very busy. I had teaching commitments that culminated in my students performing successfully at the local eisteddfod. This is good and I should feel proud, which I do, but I don’t care if I never hear certain tunes again in my life! I have finished my children’s graphic novel for a US publisher who asked if I could get the book done three months earlier than planned. I have started my commissioned non-fiction work on British mistresses. My bottom is numb from sitting and my eyes are going cross eyed.
But where have all the plans for my blockbuster novel gone? I need to bring it back to the top of the list of priorities. Especially as I now have plans for it to become a series (why ever stop at one, whether it’s eating chocolate or writing novels?).
I feel that the novel has stalled and that it will remain so for ever. This is how I always feel half way through a project: how and when will it ever get finished? I also know from experience that a concerted effort (glued to the computer) will pull it together, the last words will be written and then I will go ‘How did that happen?’
Once you have completed something you know that you can do it because you have just done it, therefore the process can be repeated. This is something I use as a mantra when other projects push the novel sideways into a waiting bay.
Agatha, I have decided, after she overcomes the enemies in her debut novel, will go on a journey to try to find her father. The woman supposed to be her mother has disappeared from the asylum and Agatha has drawn a blank on her trail. The shop is prospering, Bella, the mute waif is at a special school learning sign language and Ralph is busy running the business. Agatha is feeling at a bit of a loose end until she receives a package in the post. It contains some of her father’s journals.
From the hints contained in the notebooks, Agatha plans to track him half way across the world into the land of ice and snow where he was supposed to have been searching for oil.
The north is a dark and dangerous world in its natural state but added to that is a formidable opponent who does not want Agatha finding out the truth. If necessary, steps will be taken to silence her forever.
I have decided to build Agatha’s world around the burgeoning technology of the late 19th and early 20th centuries using it to bind the series together just as magic is used in Harry Potter.
Will I go as far as the magic number seven? I can’t say but I do believe that once a character has been created it is wrong not to let them continue in other books if that is what they want.
Oh, and I also have the seeds of an idea for Bella when she has turned sixteen. Even though she is mute she has developed an excellent musical ability and she has been accepted into the Royal College of Music. However, Bella is not going to be allowed to focus solely on her music studies. Influenced by her love of the great literary detective Sherlock Holmes, Bella becomes embroiled in a series of murky mysteries and with the help of her former squatter, the spirit of William La Motte’s little sister, Bella often finds herself in deep and troubled waters.
Now, all I have to do is sit down and write.