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‘Hello Book 4 my old friend…’ are words I have uttered over the past month, on too many occasions to record. Each rekindling of the relationship with my newest story has been brief. The ups & downs of my personal hibernating life mean there have been too many days when my current story has languished. The result: too few reasons to write a blog post. I guess it’s a symptom of the current zeitgeist; like everyone else, writers are under pressure of one kind & another. Add unexpected drama into my particular mix & is it any wonder I’ve been tardy?

In précis: I’ve been hors de combat.

Unexpectedly & not without a little drama. The one is boring, the other – well, dear reader, who knew one small fall could result in so many bruises! Recovering well now, I finally find I need to chat, to myself if to no one else, about my newest foray into storytelling.

Had I been told, in 2016 when Ghostbird was published, that four & a half years later I’d be writing my fourth novel, I’d have imagined someone was kidding. And yet here I am, almost 40k into an odd little tale I’m growing extremely fond of. Considering I’ve been writing it since last year though, 40k is a meagre wordcount. Before lockdown, because I was sure of the story’s simplicity, I believed I would have a first draft done in a few months. Ha!

Another thing I’m learning about this writing lark is, when a story exists on a very small canvas, the intricacies become more crucial. Intimacy requires as much attention to detail as any sweeping saga. In addition, I’m being ‘told’ by my characters what they want to do (it was ever thus.) Plot tangents have flung themselves into the mix with gay abandon; new characters charm me & a far better version of the end lifts my heart. But even though I have all this – literally: a beginning, a middle & an end – I somehow find myself stuck on pause. I’m back & forth through what I have already written, faffing & rewriting, endlessly (unless I’m not – cos ‘drama’) playing with ‘perfection’ rather than moving the story on. I am continually haunted by the ghosts of words already written: ones sitting nicely on the page, thank you very much.

For goodness sake, woman, be brave! Write another, fresh, 40k!

Essentially, I’m elevating my ‘edit as I go’ inclination to new & ridiculous heights. Fear of failure is a factor for sure (sorry/not sorry: excessive alliteration.) Goes with the territory. Largely, I suspect it’s a case of ‘drama’ in a time of lockdown causing creatus interruptus. I may have to conjure a plan.

Just checked diary. It’s a new moon on Wednesday.

That’ll do it. Fingers crossed!