Friday, 6 March 2015

Introducing a challenge.

I have often wondered - well, I have sometimes wondered - just how authors set about writing their books and have been gobsmacked at the brilliance of their imaginations.  But imagination aside, it is the sheer mechanics of how they go about the task that has from time to time interested me.  Elizabeth George, the prolific author of the Inspector Lynley books, actually wrote a book about it.  Imagine that: a book about how she writes her books!  It sounds a bit dry but, perhaps surprisingly, I found it interesting.  She explained how she goes to great lengths in the planning process, drafting out the various scenes that will go to make up each chapter and then writing the various scenes.  And not necessarily in the order in which they will appear in the finished book.  She also goes to considerable lengths to ensure that she sets the scenes correctly in their locations.  For example, if she intends setting a scene in a tumbledown barn, she will drive around the appropriate part of the country until she finds a suitable barn, which she will then photograph from all angles so that she can refer to these when writing the scene.  Given that the books are set in England while she lives in America, that shows devotion to duty!

On the other hand, Peter James, another best-selling author whose later books are set in Brighton and feature Roy Grace, tells how he approached his first book.  He had the opening scene in mind but that was all.  After writing that, he just followed on, writing, as it were, by the seat of his pants.  I have heard of other authors doing the same.  Others have said that they have in mind the closing scene and then have to work through to that.

Well, some years ago I started writing a novel.  I adopted a sort of Peter James approach in that I new where the story would be set and I had in mind some of the characters.  However, I was undecided about the plot and intended just seeing how things developed.  I am going to be incommunicado for a week to ten days, so I thought I might schedule a few posts featuring some of the early scenes and introducing the main characters - or maybe they are just some of the main characters with others to appear as the plot unfolds.  Today I will tell you just that the story opens in that part of Brighton known as the North Laine, an area developed during Victorian times to provide housing for the working class.

The main characters live in a terraced street called Princess Row and they are:

At No 2: Tom Finch, fifty-something, caretaker at the University of Brighton.
No 3:    Mavis Muriel Oldthorpe, aka Irena Kastelevich, 58, fortune teller on Brighton Pier.
No 4:    Max Soper & Roger Hastings, aspiring artist and clerk in the finance department at the City Council.
No 71:  Nikki Russell, single mother, jewellery maker, and daughter Katie, 6.
No 72:  Guy & Gemma Carstairs, >the Gee-Gees=, weekenders from London.
No 73:  Ted & Val Watson, retired postman and wife.

Tomorrow I'll start the tale.


Sophie said...

That sounds interessting! Looking foward to read more!

I also work on a novel - partly - set in Brighton... Though my main character now moved to the country, somewhere near Lewes. So whenever I'm in Brighton or Lewes I halfway expect to see her or another character somewhere.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Hello Sophie, and thanks for dropping by. Hope your writing is going well.