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Writing My Novel ‘The Pricking of Thumbs’, by Ben Marshall

I can think of many pointless activities, but few rival writing words on a page without getting paid for it. If you build ships in bottles, you at least get something to look at. With stamp collecting you’re collecting art in miniature, and, again, you have something tangible to admire.

An unpublished manuscript, on the other hand…

With The Pricking of Thumbs I’m moving on from a recently completed novel manuscript of piracy in the emerging Age of Reason (The Pyrate’s Sonne, now composting in slush-piles around the nation) to a tale of the post-collapse future. Having explored what makes the modern world modern, I wanted to find out what emerges from the rubble of the future.

I began the new manuscript just before Christmas, and had eighty pages written before I knew it. A good time to pause and do a novel development course with The Australian Literature Review, yes? I’d started with a single first sentence, something to intrigue and beguile the reader. Then I wrote a few pages before pausing and doing some structuring, finding an endpoint, meeting my characters, and thinking on turning-points and themes. Now, with The Australian Literature Review, it’s time to get pointy-headed about this manuscript.

For me, a novel is a journey of discovery. With The Pyrate’s Sonne, I and my scurvy crew set out into dangerous waters and interesting times. I explored the medieval mindset, and enjoyed resolving situations my crew and I found ourselves in. With The Pricking of Thumbs I will explore a world being created as we speak. History is the assemblage of lies and half-truths into a narrative, but with The Pricking of Thumbs I will have to make up my own future history.

Young adult or adult readers will hopefully journey with me and my dangerous circus freaks to find love, hope, redemption and the nature of human good and evil. There will be no magic, no aliens, no sci-fi and no gods to help my damaged ensemble survive or reach their goals. They will have only themselves.

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Ben Marshall bio page

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