07 Feb Dispatches from a Golden Egger – Part Five
Contribution by Andrew Wright
Being Creatively Sick
For me the work on the BookMap between 29 October and 20 November was so very creative that it was actually akin to vomiting (apologies for the visceral nature of that metaphor). Once started the BookMap forced me to begin to cohere story strands, work on physical ways to show what was happening to Gareth and to pull a whole lot of loose strands and threads together; once begun the ideas just poured out of my head. The early morning walk with our Black Labs – Poppy and Lucy – is the place where my creative juices flow, and during that October half-term week I came bouncing back every day brimming with ways I could fix the bits that weren’t working. One day I scared a fellow dog walker by whooping out loud in the woods (I didn’t know she was there) as a particularly powerful revelation tore through me.
I wrote all of this into the BookMap – yes still NOT ACTUALLY WRITING THE NEXT DRAFT, it had been a month now – rewriting and rewriting the BookMap to make sure I nailed everything. Imogen explained that if I kept my discipline, when the time came to let the creative juices flow on the rewrite I might find the next draft just poured out of me. And as I sit here on a Sunday in early January, that has been exactly my experience. I’ve just hit my 30,000-word deadline with days to spare and have actually, through the opportunity provided by the Christmas hols, powered through to the end of the manuscript too re-paving it in the light of the considerable changes to the beginning. There’s still a deep line- and read-out-loud edit to do on the whole thing but I am on a roll and reckon that’ll be finished early February – and that’s even around the very full-on day job.
I’ve never been a planner, always struggling with almost too many ideas which I hurl at the page to see where they take me. What the BookMap has done is make a very messy process – and let’s face it there are some aspects of creativity that will forever remain messy – a little bit tidier. I am now developing a new story idea outside the Imagefest sequence of four books:
I – Sanctuary’s Loss
II – Time’s Call
III – Buckle’s Isle
IV – Hope’s Loom
And I am already using the BookMap format in a flexible and helpful way to develop story themes, characters and plot. In this new book a sense of place will be crucial – it’s set in a London utterly empty of people – and I will be using the BookMap not only to help orientate me through the narrative, but also to ensure I keep myself geographically focused within my setting. It is because of the BookMap I can say that it’s likely Scratch will be finished by the end of the summer 2014, something I would have never been able to say before about my stories. Like the Mousetrap or those interminable soaps on TV, my story writing used to just run and run endlessly.
Sanctuary’s Loss is still developing and with Golden Egg’s help I am hoping to be in a position to take it even further soon. I will keep you updated on progress through further posts to this blog. Thanks for reading. I’d be really interested in hearing your stories; you can find me on Twitter @Andrew_Wright_ 🙂