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.
- A time fantasy novel set in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia in ancient times.
- A novel featuring two teenagers fascinated by time who find themselves trapped in suspended time.
- A novel drawn from the real life experiences of a member of my family.
- 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.
- 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.