Monday, April 23, 2007

Recreating the past?

I grew up with books.

I remember my father reading Winnie the Pooh with us each evening in front of the fire while my mother counted our chickenpox spots.

Every time my mother went on a big shopping trip, she'd be sure to bring me a new book by Malcolm Saville. I even wrote him a fan letter once, and got one back in his own handwriting!

One night when my grandmother had to cook supper for Mrs. McLean, the lady for whom she worked as housekeeper, I went along. There I was treated to a full roast pheasant dinner in front of the telly in what had been Mrs. McLean's children's nursery. Ranged around the room, was the complete collection of Enid Blyton's Adventure series. I Iwas hooked, but had to hide them if my father was around. He didn't approve of EB's work.

Within a year at boarding school, I'd read every book on the overflowing shelves in the study, and all they could think to do with me the next year was get me to 'catalogue' them. One of the books that stayed with me from that time was Ian Serallier's book The Silver Sword; when I reread it forty years later the story of Jan was as resonant as my memory of it.

None of this really explains why, in the past few weeks, I got an idea for a kids' novel, started in as if I'd been thinking about it for months, and yesterday hit the 14,000-word mark. And arrived, without much planning or foresight, at the dramatic mid-point of the story. I'm half way there.

While it may not be the 'shitty first draft' that many of us pass off as our early stabs at new ideas, I'm not worried about how perfect it is.


Right now Elsie and the Silver Rain seems to have a momentum of its own, so I'll take advantage of that and ride the wave as long as it takes.

I'm getting attached to the characters, have become more and more intrigued about how it will all turn out, and am feeling a real sense of achievement that in the past 14 days I've come up with an average of 1,400 new words a day.

I'm getting some good feedback from my writing buddy Elaine and some postivie feedback - and a brilliant suggestion for a plot point - at my Friday evening writer's group.

And in the process, for the first time in years I've been reading children's novels, and admiring the craft that so many writers bring to this important genre.

1 comment:

Wenda said...

I found a great feast of writing on your website today and then for dessert have been nibbling away here. Great to find you blogging, too.