People keep asking me: new year, new novel? And though I’m trying (for my own sake) to focus on short stories, something that looks suspiciously like the plot for a novel keeps sneaking up on me whenever I slip into daydreaming. There are couples, secrets, and revelations… But when will I find time to write it? Life with an active 18-month-old is hectic and we’re also gearing up to move countries in June, which takes some organizing. Still, I’m managing to devour books so theoretically there is time to write something big.
I’ve read some great stuff recently – Fingersmith, The Reader, The Post-Birthday World, The Help, One Day, The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite, and short story collections by Helen Simpson, Ali Smith, Carol Joyce Oates and Ann Packer to name but a few. There’s so much brilliant writing out there and it never fails to excite and inspire me. I find myself thinking, that would be such an interesting subject to write on – I could do something like that, only different… The thing is, with novel writing it’s a question of narrowing the field down to what you really, really want and need to write about, as they’re so time-consuming. Someone suggested I write three or four detailed plots and then take my pick, and it’s a brilliant idea except I just don’t seem to work that way; the same cast of characters keep appearing in my mind’s eye and at some point soon I’ll just have to sit down with a pen and listen to them.