I can imagine that, halfway through the novel, I shall find it hard to let it go to bed. It will have a human shape by then. It will be breathing. Asking questions. Having tantrums. Saying why? Maybe panting and sweating. Attempting to resume unfinished conversations with me. Making me laugh. Making me sing. Making me cry. (Hopefully.)
I know vaguely what it will be about and I know three characters and some of the setting. I know the kind of language I want to use. I know I want to be sparing with the vocabulary, less wordy and pompous than I can be. I like Susan Hill's style of writing. Fresh and clean, but with the occasional metaphor that takes your breath away. I would like parts of it to be poetic, delicate, beautiful, and for these to be threaded in. I want to write in my own voice, but for it to work at its best all the time, every word.
It's no wonder I've put this off. I might be far too lazy to achieve all that. I want rather a lot. But I know what I don't want. I don't want to go into it half-heartedly or treat it like an elongated short story. This is different and I hope I'm ready for it. I have the time and I definitely have the inclination.
I might need some stronger contact lenses (too much hunching and peering like an old crone again) and I might need to clean out the Ryvita crumbs from my keyboard. And then I'll be more than ready.
All last night, especially at around 4am, I kept seeing scenes, imagining the setting. It's about a family with secrets. And I love the fact that all the secrets are in my own imagination. I only know one of them. That unlocked itself yesterday on a train from Cardiff to Cheltenham, with my daughter and I sitting unlawfully in First Class. (There were only three carriages and it was vertical sardines everywhere. Didn't they realise it's half-term? We were very tired and wanted to read our new books. And there was this empty and rather nice First Class carriage and a very cross guard who shook his head at us, but let us stay put until some of the sardines peeled off at Newport and we hot-footed it into an empty pair of seats in the normal carriage - the one with the rain leaking through the ceiling panels...) The rest of the secrets will emerge today (even without the marvellously atmospheric Great Western train to inspire me) and tonight. I can feel it...
I promise the novel won't have any parentheses.