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Island life, Word birds & Process

In case new followers aren’t aware (my ramblings notwithstanding) this blog is my version of a writer’s diary. Its main function is to help me keep track of my writing process. In other words, it often consists of me thinking aloud – it’s highly likely I’ll make little sense to you, dear reader & if you’ve got this far, I’m impressed…

In my last entry I talked to myself about my next story: resurrect a previous one or start from scratch. It ended with me saying, I would wait & see which word birds ‘whispered the loudest.’

It seems the new one wins. Not because ‘going back’ is a bad thing. It can be & a story that isn’t working is a story that probably needs ditching. I know when I’m writing the wrong one. Riverbook isn’t wrong – it just isn’t the right time.

At writing group on Monday, I ran the outline of my new idea past my co-conspirator, Janey, & a week later, on the back of much slashing & brainstorming, I have it. Beginning. Middle. End. With the wrong whistles & bells relegated to the delete pile, the new ones glimmer. And I have a title! This early in the process it’s a bonus. (Book 3 has had almost as many titles as chapters. In the end I found it, hiding in plain sight within the narrative, but it took ages.)

This new story is as Gothic as I’ve gone thus far. I’m enjoying the trajectory of my books – from baby ghost to ‘presence’ via a tragic Victorian haunting. This one has sisters, another house (although not necessarily as we know it) & birds. (I am programmed to write birds into my stories.) And the colour blue… Also again, but it’s a lush colour & it works – in an entirely different context – so why not? A stroke of serendipity just now: as I thought blue, Kate Bush sang the title line above, which is, frankly, witchcraft & convinces me I’m on the right track.

I’m taking my time, making my notes & feeling my way. I have a new, magical writing frock (to go with the writing earrings.) All I need now is some discipline.

Chiharu Shiota
© Chiharu Shiota
* Kate Bush Sunset