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Plot, characters, settings etc etc. You get the idea! OK, so things haven't been quite that bad, but I have been struggling of late with the writing. Part of that is because I've been trying to edit a children's book I wrote several years ago with a view to making some major changes to the story and turning what had been the first two books in one series into the first books in two separate series. I'm still not entirely sure quite what I want to happen and there is a certain amount of making it up as I go along, which scares me a little. I used to be a panther, but I'm now much more of a plotter and I don't like the feeling of not having a clue how the novel is going to turn out.



The other problem has, of course, been lockdown. I usually write during the day when the boys are all at school and work and having all three of them at home has seriously curtailed both my free time and my ability to be creative. The situation isn't helped by the fact that I am almost solely responsible for home schooling the five year old (not through any fault of my husband's, it's just that he's busy keeping other people's children safe and educated) and by the time I've finished working with him, I'm so tired I can do nothing more than sink into a corner clutching a bottle of wine and muttering incoherently to myself. Eventually I might rouse myself enough to read a book, but I certainly can't do any writing of my own.


I've been trying to start the new novel as I know I need to have some uninterrupted time to properly edit the previous one, but although I'd got as far as writing a rough outline of the plot and deciding on the structure of the novel, I had no names for the characters and only a vague idea of the kinds of people they were. Last year, before there was any hint of a Lockdown Part 3, I signed up to Imagine Creative Writing's Novel in a Year course thinking that it would be another course to help me improve my writing further and also would give me a project to work on that still had the deadlines that had been so helpful on both the MA and NaNoWriMo. What I hadn't factored in was that I wouldn't be in a position to write for hours at a time when the course started and so I approached today's first installment of the course with some trepidation. I was excited, certainly, but was also anxious that I wouldn't be able to actually write anything and that I still didn't have a clear enough idea of what my novel was going to be about - I didn't even know what genre it was going to be in.



I shouldn't have worried. Not only did I manage to complete the writing exercises we were given, but I actually created passages that will be useful when I begin assembling the novel and got to know a little bit about one of my main characters - he even got a name! In fact, he's already started to stamp his authority on his personality and his background and I ended up learning a little about his war experiences and how they had affected him, neither of which were things I had envisaged including in the novel until he suggested them. That he is already making demands of me is a good sign I think and I'm looking forward to discovering what else he has in store for me over the next year.


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