Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wherefrom art thou novel...

It's just after lunch at Coward's Castle. The lady of the manor is on her ownsies today. The lord of the manor is slipsliding down hills on white stuff called snow. The lady of the manor is slipsliding on white stuff called paper. His isn't safe during execution. Her's isn't safe after execution. He makes it to the bottom of the hill. She's only got a rejection at the bottom of the hill so she has to stay on top. Sigh.

I have been shopping in his absence this very Sunday and bought some comfy and cosie warmies to wear. Now I'm back at the computer, an edit in one hand (with a deadline) and a shortstory proposal in the other (with a deadline). And you, my little bloggy blog. New thing that you are I MUST TRY TO GET TO YOU EVERY DAY WITH SOMETHING WISE....

Okay. Be wise then and get on with it Zara Penney!

Where do my novels spring from?

I'm a great one for first sentences. I think of great first liners, first paras. I write them down and work my plot from there. I don't plot too much. The characters tell me where they want to go. And when I have been accused of plotting, ie., my characters have accused me of trying to play God, "MYOB and get on typing while we dictate" they shout not so politely.

So the only way I can save myself is to sit and think of a great ending. Something where the sad loud music makes my eyes water with emotion. I hear violins and the orchestra playing. Maybe that's not the best way to write a book, but it's how I do it. Otherwise I know I'd be stiff and unbending and probably miss out on some of the best scenes of my life.

I write most days. If I'm not I'm thinking about it. In my bag is a back up disk so that I never run the risk of losing all my "stuff" ever ever ever, even if the house burns down. When I'm in the middle of a full blown novel I think of my characters and they are my friends. People outside my head are a small diversion because there are real people inside my head.

Often, when I venture out of Coward's Castle to luncheon (yes it's what my mother calls it) with my mother and sister, they talk of little things like "did you see how much the cling wrap is at Kmart?" or "my neighbour's cat ate my roses" and I'm thinking to myself "will Rafe make love to Naftali now or later at the ranch" and suddenly look at my mother and my sister who are blinking at me and saying "what do you think?". Of course I don't think of anything other than Rafe and Naftali making love. Of course I can't tell them that's what I'm thinking. I can just see it. "Rafe? What sort of name is that?" (My sister would say that.) "Whatever happened to Harry or Tom?" Or my mother would say, "When am I going to read this?" To which I cannot say back, only when it's in print and you can't change anything or say anything. But I know she won't like it. She only ever read anything my father (the benign dictator) used to tell her. And now, since he died, she doesn't read at all.

So that's where my novels come from. Wrapped in a beginning and ending. I plot along the way. As I go. As I drive. When I wake up at night. (At lunch with my mother and sister.) In the supermarket. In the bank queue. I guess I'm not too much fun to be with but I can tell you,


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