Drafting a novel the easy way: days 29 and 30

Having battled through an hour-long train journey with only a paragraph to show, I had a better day on day 30 – the hunger came back! – I even got my netbook out on the bus, since I was able to sit on the back seat and be all privy-like. Admittedly I’m on an easy bit at the moment – one of those pivotal scenes that is in your mind when you conceive a story – something that you have dramatized in imagination, and that you then have to link and people with words. I think neural cogs are turning rustily behind the scenes because plot and character ideas are occasionally coming to me and being either filed or rejected.

I’m struggling a bit with geography at the moment, as I had always imagined my story playing out in a certain setting and I am finding that it is very hard to plausibly put my people there. Plausibility is important to me – perhaps it shouldn’t be, and I should feel more free to experiment – but I hate the idea that my plot could be dismissed because my protagonists would never get through passport control. I am not Ian Fleming. I don’t think I can do jet-setting, yet, or ever. I need to master lacunae – a judicious line break here and there – while the characters are off-stage getting themselves into position. At the moment I want to describe everything, to the extent of knowing how many steps it takes my people to cross the room.

Another old bugbear that is coming back is a certain strictness in reporting – I feel uneasy describing things that my characters could not have picked up with one of their five senses. I hope that this will ease off, and I am having ideas for less ‘concrete’ passages that I need to work up later. It is good to be bearing them in mind now so that I don’t close off the requisite openings in the story as I go.

Word count: 1,805

Deficit: 1,195

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