Now that DELIRIUM is finished and about to go through the pre-publication neatening up process, my mind is turning to ideas for a new writing project. But though I have ideas kicking around, I find I’m experiencing the same bewilderment that I always experience once a book is finished.
I realise I have no idea how to write.
Or rather, I completely forget how I wrote the last novel and can’t imagine how I can ever write another one.
At this stage, the whole process baffles me. Even though I’ve done it before, several times, I can’t see how I can possibly write another 80,000 or more words because I simply can’t remember how it happened last time.
I know it did happen. I have the words in a digital file to prove it. But how did they get there? Who wrote them? How come there are so many of them?
Of course, I know deep down that I will be able to do it again – if I want to. But I always seem to have to add that proviso. If I want to, I can write another novel – but I can’t be forced to do it. I have to let it sneak up on me.
It’s a bit like washing the dishes.
I say to myself, ‘I’ll just put the plates in hot water to soak and I’ll do them later’ and then I say, ‘Well, I may as well add some washing up liquid.’ After that it’s a small step to: ‘Since I’m here, I might as well do them while the water is hot.’ And so, by sneaking the idea up on myself, the dishes get done.
And that’s how novels happen. A snatch of conversation gets written down – may as well save it as I might need it later. A couple of characters start forming – might as well jot down some notes, just in case. A few ideas float up from the unconscious. Better write them down or else I'll forget them.
And before I realise it, I have what looks suspiciously like a pile of freshly washed chapters.