It’s that time again. The moment when I’m faced with the blank screen and have to fill it with words. I’ve written twelve novels in my lifetime. Six of them have been published. A seventh will be published in July (The Darkest Heart), with number eight at the beginning of 2015 (Big Game) and number nine later that year (I’m not telling you the title of that one yet!).
Despite all that practise, it never gets any easier. Writing something new is still a daunting prospect and I still wake up every morning wondering if it’s all going to come together. It’s that blank screen. The cursor just sits there and blinks as if it’s daring me. ‘C’mon,’ it says. ‘Impress me.’
So I’m trying to impress it, and I’m trying to impress myself. I’m also trying to impress my first reader, my agent, my editor and, ultimately, my readers. No pressure, then.
The great news is, I have an idea and I think it’s a good one. I even have a few thousand words down on paper. The story has life and it wants to go somewhere. I think I know where it’s going, but have no idea if I’m right. Maybe my characters will decide they don’t like what I have in store for them, and will take a new path.
I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.
What else? Well, I’ve been reading, reading reading! A huge box of books arrived a few weeks ago and I’ve been working through them in my role as shortlisting judge for The Scottish Children’s Book Awards. I feel very honoured to have been invited to sit on the panel, and have enjoyed reading so many fantastic novels. It’s going to be a tough decision!
Oh, and here’s a big shout out to all the brilliant boys and girls I met at Duke’s School in Alnwick a few weeks ago! I had a great morning talking about books with year 5, and hopefully inspired a few young readers/writers. Here are a few photos of the hard work they’ve been doing since my visit!