Monday, 13 July 2015

In Between Days

I’m in between books. A place where I haven’t been for some time. It’s been a busy year of writing projects. Still Falling came out in February, by which time I was putting the final touches to another book, Street Song.  Then fate – or rather my publisher – threw me a curve ball, which meant setting everything else aside to write a completely new novel (in three months). Name Upon Name will be out in September; I’ve just submitted a new version of Street Song to my agent; I’m waiting to hear about another project I’ve pitched, and so for now I don’t have a book on the go. For the first time in well over a year.

Great! Because I’m tired, aren’t I? I need a break. I was certainly looking forward to having one. I went to the SAS  Charney retreat last week – oh, wait, I was helping to organise it, wasn’t I? So maybe that wasn’t a complete break. All the same, it was fun. For the first time at Charney, I wasn’t trying to write or edit: I concentrated on socialising and just being. Which was absolutely lovely, and very much in keeping with this year’s Charney theme, which was about well-being.

Charney Manor
 Lovely. But also slightly odd. Because I was surrounded by many more people than I am used to, but inside my head it was strangely quiet. When I’m mid-book, I have all sorts of extra people in there – my characters. Once they’ve been delivered to their fate – publication for Name Upon Name; submission for Street Song – they go dark. I can’t access them because the book is written now; I can’t do anything else with them.

And I don’t like it. I feel like Harriet (the spy) when her notebook is stolen. Banned from spying, she goes straight to the stationer’s for a new notebook. Because she’s a writer; it’s what she does.
surrounded by more people than I'm used to

I told myself I was having some weeks off writing. There’s plenty of admin I could be doing, and events to plan for Name Upon Name. I don’t need to be writing a new book. In fact, sending Street Song off to its fate, worried that it mightn’t be bought, I told myself I wouldn’t start anything new until I had some definite interest. No more writing on spec. Especially as I have a notion that my new YA idea might not be very marketable. No point in wasting my time, is there?

But it’s too quiet inside my head. Lonely really. And the other day, walking in Oxfordshire, my new characters started making their presence felt. Maybe I could only hear them because it was quiet. But contract or no, I know what I’ll be doing next week. Because it was wonderful to meet them.

New notebook. New characters. New plans. Because like Harriet the Spy, I’m a writer. It’s what I do.


Sue Purkiss said...

Good luck with all those books!

Majid Vijah said...
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Emma Barnes said...

A fellow Harriet the Spy fan here - who knows just how you feel.

Sheena Wilkinson said...

Harriet The Spy felt so much like MY book as a notebook-obessed child.