… or should that be
I seem to go from a simple idea for a novel, a contemporary Beauty and the Beast in the case of my next novel, into a thicket of handwritten notes, ideas scribbled on stray pieces of paper, written scenes, more ideas, bits of plot, character notes, more ideas, structure notes, notes carefully filed in plastic folders with headings like ‘Edward’s Section’ which become part of a pile of plastic folders on a blue stool beside me, and scenes. Not to mention the typed Word documents of all the above (sometimes writing by hand pleases me; sometimes I type) which are carefully filed in different subfolders in a folder called Beauty and the Beast. The subfolders are growing like the branches of a thicket.
All these notes
in my head.
Through which it is difficult to see out.
And then this morning I knew that I had to make it simple. I knew that I had to write the one line that – like the root of the tree at the heart of the thicket – holds the whole thing up.
It is this: NOT DEPENDING ON OTHERS FOR YOUR SENSE OF YOURSELF.
From which I have begun the novel again.
And from which I will redraft it again and again.
Until the characters embody that simple idea.
But, of course, by the end the novel will be fat with the colours and smells and physical attributes, the inspirations and desperations and insights – in short, the characters – of the many unexpected paths (notes) that I trod along the way. So the paths and the notes that lead to them are useful, more than useful, essential. It’s just that I hate that thicket feeling.
This morning, as I wondered where to file this, I realised that the best place was here. It would only get lost in the thicket otherwise.