It’s only the start of October, but I already feel the urge to get ready for National Novel Writing Month in November. Every year I worry that the magic won’t work for me and I will end up with no novel, or, perhaps even worse, a novel with no recognisable plot.
I hope to inoculate myself against this possibility by making plans and preparations. Many people wouldn’t recognise the process I’m going through as planning, but actually I am always highly organised by my own standards before the end of October.
I don’t like to think of myself as having an arsenal of writing weapons, so possibly a more appropriate metaphor is that I have a case of writing essentials. It isn’t one of the silly cases on wheels that air hostesses have, either, since my philosophy of packing is that I have to be able to carry everything I take with me. Actually I don’t usually even take a suitcas as such on holiday with me, but two leopard print travel bags…
So, what’s going into the writing case this time?
Well, I need to go to one or more write-ins at Starbucks’ on Princes Street before November so that I get used to writing in there again on a Sunday afternoon. I also have to attempt to get my other computer, the one in the kitchen, up and running in time, as at some point during November it will become too dark to write in the conservatory.
As part of my preparations I am preparing lists of situations, events and characters for this year’s novel.
Without giving too much away, or tying myself down too much in advance, I can safely say that some or all of my Pitkirtly characters are in the cast list. Based on my random thoughts over the summer, Pitkirtly is likely to be visited by a steam train at least once during the novel. The town could acquire an island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway – but this is currently only an optional ‘extra’ which I will use if the plot demands it. At least one murder will take place during the novel.
Apart from that, I have packed several questions in my writing case: will Amaryllis persist with her knitting? will Darren stick at his new job? how can Maisie Sue stayin the UK? will Jock McLean get in too deep with his romantic entanglements? and so on.