One of the small problems about flying off next week to tell stories at Delhi's Bookaroo Children’s Book Festival(with surrounding holiday) is that . . . . er . . er . . . part of me quite wants to stay home here in Yorkshire working on Tome Two.
I’m behind on my personal deadline. This Autumn’s run of visits tore into the energy I need for my writing work. This is not a complaint, especially as the schools and libraries were really great, but the big fact in most author's writing/earning balance. Visiting is essentially “Out There”; Writing is “In Here”.
I know I should be up and at the Tome every spare second, but my creative mind doesn’t work like that, and before anyone quotes inspirational tales of Messrs Trollope or Archer or even the feted Miss Price, I have no servants, assistants or anyone else writing down my book words.
However, the enforced silence was useful. Returning to the Tome, I suddenly saw that a certain light and subtle story twist was actually constructed of a material somewhat heavier then lead. It required, and will require, strong and severe plot-wrangling.
There is also another problem to solve. The small matter of X, a secondary character: a pale, pitiful creature doomed to arrive at a poignantly early end.
X has decided to be nothing of the sort. In true Jasper-Ffordean manner, she is stomping on furiously, full of life and health and wanting to have her own way. Just now I can’t see how or if I can ever take her in hand, let alone what she will do to the main characters. So much for the power of the synopsis! She cannot be trusted alone.
So I have decided that in Delhi, home of the power-cut,I must keep writing, but it will be - aagh! - by hand. Even though that means facing up to my awful over-excited scrawl. Even though I need the protective “writing distance” my computer screen gives me. I considered the lap-top option, but that adds weight and safety issues. Hand-writing sounds so much more reliable, doesn’t it?
I fear it will all come back to me: the stained fingers, the gloom as the paper is covered in more and more deletions, the awful over-writing, the sense of homework badly done. Ho hum. I must try to be positive.
Will my back-to-scribbling plan work? It's essential that it does, because I’ve reached a significant point in the making of Tome Two, a moment that ABBA writers may recognise, and it is joyous. When I sat down to work this last week, the writing had begun speaking back to me.