This much I know


Today I did something I’ve dreamt of often but never actually managed to achieve before: I sat in a coffee shop and worked on my novel.

We were on our way back from Arthur’s drama class, and after dipping into a couple of charity shops in the ongoing hunt for bits and pieces for Christmas crafting I thought we were just going to head home. But then Arthur fell asleep. And all the thoughts about character and plot that have been swirling around over the past couple of weeks rose up in my mind, determined to be heard. And I thought really, given that we were just outside one of my favourite spots for coffee in Brixham which is due to close forever in its current incarnation at the end of this week, it’d be rude not to stop and listen.

Over the course of two steaming hot lattes I scribbled furiously in my notebook whilst Arthur dozed in the sling, blissfully unaware. And after a couple of weeks where I’ve done lots of reading and thinking but not very much writing I was thrilled to discover that there’s actually rather a lot I know about my novel.

I don’t want to give too much away yet, but the two main characters are definitely beginning to take shape. And the peripheral ones are padding out too. And the locations are becoming clearer. And the plot is beginning to make sense. There’s still a way to go, but I definitely know more than I thought.

What I’m not sure about yet is how it’s all going to be structured. I guess in a way that’s a decision that can wait, but there are some choices I will need to make before I start writing. Like whose voice we’re going to hear. I know the narrative needs to be split between the present and the past, but I’m not sure whether we want to see things from just one character’s perspective or whether another point of view will help to tell the story. I also know that time will not be linear in this novel. But the arc the narrative will follow is not yet clear.

I’m going to continue to read and think – and write too – as I continue to work all this out. The little bits of character exploration I’ve done so far – like this scene from the past and this letter from closer to the present – have been enormously helpful. I possibly need to start mapping things out a bit too, to begin to get a stronger sense of the bigger picture.

Because however much I know so far, there are certainly still an awful lot of pages in that notebook waiting to be filled…



Writing Bubble


16 thoughts on “This much I know

  1. Mummy Tries

    Gotta love a bonus nap and the opportunity to have a lovely peaceful (and in your case super productive!) coffee 😊 sounds like the book is coming along fantastically well. Still can’t believe you’re powering through when you’ve literally only just given your last effort to your agent. Amazing lady xxx

  2. redpeffer

    Ooh, yes. A bonus nap spent in the coffee shop writing-now that is priceless. And your commitment to the next project, so soon after the last one has been handed over, hats off to you 🙂

  3. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    How wonderful to have gained that unexpected hour or so to just write ideas down; it’s amazing how much you can achieve when you can just focus and enjoy the time. Sounds like it’s going really well, and from what you’ve written for us so far, I’m looking forward to learning more about your characters 🙂 #whatimwriting

  4. Nicola Young

    I’ve been camping out in my local coffee shop quite a bit this month with a local nano group. It’s been great to sit and tap away in the company of others. I also think it helps to be in another setting at least for a while and having coffee on tap is always a bonus (definitely helps you type faster!)

  5. Emily

    Well done on getting a good start. I think the ambience of a coffee shop can really help you knuckle down in the early stages of book writing. I wrote my first draft in coffee shops. Not so great for editing though I found. I’m looking forward to finding out more as your book develops.

  6. maddy@writingbubble

    Ah the holy grail – writing in a coffee shop! I’ve never managed it myself but one day…
    Sounds like it was such a productive hour and things are really coming together for you. I’ve just been given a couple of moleskine notebooks so I can start writing when I’m out and about. About time I wasn’t so tied to my laptop! You’ve totally inspired me to try and find a time when I can sneak off for a cuppa somewhere. Keep up the fabulous work and thanks for linking to #WhatImwriting xx

  7. deskmonkeymummy

    Aww, love the baby novel stages, when everything feels so exciting and fresh. For me that dies off after about a day though and then I want to do something else, haha.
    This is lovely – the life of a writer. I’m slightly jealous x

  8. Pingback: Word of the Week: Organised | Sophie is…

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