Dan Purdue recently posted 5 things about his current work in progress. He’d been tagged in a previous post by Jonathan Pinnock and at the end of his own post, Dan tagged me (along with four other writers). So now I am supposed to tell you five things about my current work-in-progress. Those of you who have followed the link through to Dan’s original post will have realised that it has taken me a fair few weeks to get round to writing this post. That’s because I’ve been neck deep in edits on the WIP and for the month or so, while the family have been off visiting other family and friends, I’ve been home alone working hard to get the beast into shape and am only now emerging from a seemingly relentless round of read, annotate, edit, repeat. Now, nearing the moment when I finally abandon this thing, I’ve been getting up at 6 each morning to dig into a final edit. All of which means that I finally feel like I can actually say something about what it is and where it is at. So, I’m a little late but here we go, five things about my work-in-progress:
1) It’s about a school teacher who physically assaults a pupil, putting the fifteen year old boy in the hospital. It’s also about the cause and effects of sudden violence, guilt, regret, the possibility of redemption, father/son relationships, marriage.
2) The timeline of the novel stretches from September 1978-July 2015, though it is not told in that order. The many changes in secondary education during that time period provide the backdrop for the novel.
3) I wrote the first words of the novel on Monday 30th January 2012. For much of the first draft I kept a writing journal in which I noted down the word count of the day’s writing along with notes on where to go next, ideas for new sections that came up during the writing time and the rest of the day, and anything else that I felt was important at the time. My first day of writing looked like this:
‘Started the novel today. 553 words completed. Opening scene of the 10 years later section. Seems to be working. Would have done more but a surprise visitor dropped round for coffee smack bang in my writing time. Perhaps I need to make the house look less occupied while the little one is at nursery?
Key things I *discovered* about the novel while writing the opening:
The school in which some of the action takes place is being demolished by this point. This is how Kev gets back into the school to visit the place where the *incidence* happened. The school has been closed for nearly a year (new schools have replaced it) and it is on the brink of being bulldozed.
Kev is ill I think
He is separated from his wife, but she texts him.
Also, quite by accident, I discovered this book:
Looks perfect for the *incidence* (assault) scene research. Ordered and on its way. Fingers crossed it is as good as it looks.’
So I actually started with the last of the three main sections of the novel. I’d forgotten that. As you can see from this entry, much of my early work on the novel was done while my youngest was at nursery; so big thank you to the staff of Little Angels, Harsewinkel for that. Also, the Body Trauma book is an excellent resource. I’d recommend it to any writer planning to hurt a character in their latest fiction. And in case you are wondering, the spelling of incidence is correct; no I did not mean incident. It’s a term in rigid impact theory which features a little in the book.
4) Long time readers of this blog will know that music is a big part of my writing process. For the novel, in addition to listening to copious amounts of Stars of The Lid, Lowercase Noises, Ólafur Arnalds, Kai Engel and, in later drafts, T. G. Olson’s soundtrack for Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, I also compiled a soundtrack playlist for the novel. The movie in my head that informed the writing of this book sounds like this:
5) At this late stage in the novel I am beginning to understand that oft-quoted line from Leonardo Da Vinci: ‘Art is never finished, only abandoned.’ As I near the end, trawling the pages of a proof copy of the novel prior to subbing it to my MA, I realise that in coming weeks I will return to these pages I might once have thought finished and rework them still more under the guidance of my WEM mentor and (with luck) a little further down the line with an agent and a publisher.
Meme complete, I’m supposed to nominate 5 other writers to complete, but, as most folks seem to have done it, if you read this post and fancy writing a similar one, consider yourself nominated.