Yesterday found me celebrating a MOMENTOUS MOMENT in CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE, for LO! I finished the first draft of "The Utopians" AKA the sequel to Storm House!
It has taken me two months of an hour or two's writing a day to get to this point, which may not sound like a lot but certainly FELT like it! Those two months were just for the "writing up" of the book, as I'd spent approx 8 months before that working on the PLOT OUTLINE. This was something I learnt to do on my MA, working under the MENTORSHIP of Mr A Cartmel. He was intent on getting the actual story worked out, at some great length, before he'd agree to let me start the WRITING, which turned out to be absolutely brilliant advice. It made working out the overall plot MUCH easier, as it's PEASY to move whole chunks of story around at that point, and you can clearly see which bits aren't working. Best of all it meant that when I did the first proper draft I didn't need to worry about what was happening next, and could just enjoy WRITING it and putting loads of GAGS in!
It's been lovely spending fictional time with the Storm House team again, they are a LOVELY bunch of characters who always seem happy to YACK AWAY to each other. Also, for the last book I was adapting it all from a screenplay, but this time it was ALL NEW, so I could go all over the shop and do all KINDS of KRAZY STUFF, and I think I pretty much did!
The plan now is to leave it alone for at least a month, so that when I go back for the second draft it'll feel like a SURPRISE. Hopefully most of the surprises will be GOOD ones - I do enjoy a good laugh at my own jokes, and I'm pretty sure I'll have forgotten them by February - but there'll also be the long slog of getting my enormous paragraphs of waffle into something that makes sense. I'm quite nervous about whether it'll be any GOOD, but also quite excited in case it iS!
All being well "Storm House: The Utopians" will be out in the summer, around the same time of year as the first one was out, but you can rest assured that I will not keep quiet about it when it's ready!