Writing a novel: a writer’s journal 2

The germ of an idea

To write a story or novel the writer needs an idea. Several actually. In fact, a writer probably needs a heap of ideas to finish a novel.

I find that there is usually one spark of an idea that will get me writing. It might be something I’ve seen on television, or shopping, or on holiday, or at the beach or while walking. It could be a photograph, a delicious smell or a memory from years ago.

Once the idea, the spark is there I ask the question: What if? What if the person in that photo was a murderer? What if the dog I saw on my walk was telling me that his master was lying injured in the garden? What if…?

Ideas for my thesis novel

For the last few months I’ve been quite undecided about what to write about for my Master of Arts thesis novel. The crunch time is here: I have to start on this in the next few days. I’ve actually been mulling over five ideas.

  1. A time fantasy novel set in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia in ancient times.
  2. A novel featuring two teenagers fascinated by time who find themselves trapped in suspended time.
  3. A novel drawn from the real life experiences of a member of my family.
  4. A novel (or even a trilogy) fictionalising the experiences of my forebears and their emigration from Prussia to South Australia in the 1840s, a story of triumph over great tragedy.
  5. A novel about a small Nepali boy caught in the midst of civil war.

After months of hesitation I’ve settled on the last one. This is the one that draws me to the main character again and again. All of the ideas I’ve listed above are quite valid and I’ll possibly use them all someday. The first four all need considerable research and planning before I can even think about writing a word.

This is also true of the story line I have chosen, but the main character is so strong and prominent in my thinking he needs to escape on to the page.

More about the process in coming days.


5 Responses to “Writing a novel: a writer’s journal 2”

  1. Trevor,

    How fascinating to look into the mind of a fiction novel author…keep it coming. Want to hear more! Don’t think I will ever be writing any fiction, although I did have amazing fantasy in primary school making up characters for short story assignments.

    Saludos from Peru

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks for visiting Gunnar.

    Although I do a great deal of writing maintaining 3 blogs the writing of a novel is a major challenge. It has to be close to publishable standard by the end of November. And I haven’t yet written a word! Mind you, I’ve spent many weeks on the thinking and planning stage. I’ll Twitter updates so that my readers can follow my progress.

  3. Rosanne says:

    You are a very brave man to write a novel in public like this, but I’m sure this process wil be valuable for you and for others too. It will be interestng to see what you think about the influence of blogging a journal has had on your writing and whether it will have been a help or a hindrance. At least you are writing and it is much easier to guide a moving object than one that is still. Happy writing, Rosanne.

  4. Trevor says:

    Thanks Rosanne. I appreciate your comments and your advice. Over the last 12 months I have come to understand the vital importance of getting regular and informed feedback on my writing.

    The time we had last night at the Literati meeting was also great with many great ideas. Both Sue and I had about 40 minutes each of discussion on our writing. Mark and Claire were the only others there. See you next week at the seminar.

  5. […] It was suggested by my supervising lecturer that I read this novel. Last week we had the author as the guest speaker at our regular fortnightly seminar. These are usually critiquing sessions where we try to help each other with the novels we are each writing for our Masters of Arts. Carol, a quietly spoken author talked to us for nearly two hours, going into details of how she went about the writing of this and her subsequent novel. I found her discussion on the inspiration of each work to be very interesting, and a major work can stem from a simple thing such as a photograph. Interestingly, my own idea for my current novel came from a photograph. […]