This blog is designed as a kind of portable writer's desk - I'm working (slowly) on a novel tentatively entitled Going Back, and I wanted a place where I can keep records, potentialy post useful links and so on when I'm not at my desk, and generally meander on about random elements while I'm supposed to be working.
The Story So Far...
Once upon a time, I went to Germany on a bus. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened (aside from the things you imagine happened), but what if it had? What if, during this trip, some of us had our lives changed permanently or temporarily; what if there were still repercussions 25 years later? What if someone's life wasn't what he thought it was? What if the lives of those he met were darker and more complex than he could have imagined at the time? What if he had suppressed large parts of what happened and accidentally found them trying to find out who he had been?
What if he met the one person who could unlock his past and help him get to the bottom of the secrets he didn't know he was keeping?
And then what if I wrote a story about it?
Well, that was the general idea. a short story about someone going back to revisit the place he dimly remembered from his school trip. Except, it turned out that the story was a little bigger than I realised. Characters and situations kept emerging and demanding to be heard. The mildly diverting short story grew to be a vast monster, some 150,000 words long, and still growing.
In the summer of 2009, I had something I was happy to let people see, read, and criticize. I knew it was flawed, particularly in the structure of the second part. I had too many voices telling the same story, and I needed to cut large chunks of it just to make the story work. However, several things happened to me that year, and the end result has been 2 years of hiatus. Now, I want to get back to my story; to read and engage with it again, to see if I have overdone the coincidences, or underdone some of the characters; to see if the sense of time and place I thought I had a handle on is still there, or whether I need to rewrite even more drastically.
And I'm going to make that process somewhat visible. I'm not fooling myself; no-one outside my family and friends has heard of me, and the audience for this book is - right now - vanishingly small. Maybe having bits and pieces online will change that; probably it won't. But I will finish this book, and I want to be proud of it, not fed up with it. So if there's anyone out there who feels like helping, commenting, supporting, whatever - feel free.
I will put chunks of it up on here (or link to chunks if appropriate) as I go along; some of them will act as a kind of progress chart; some of them will form a kind of museum of discarded remnants. I'll rant about how life gets in the way of writing; I'll post odd things which occur to me along the way. But mostly, I'll remind myself that this is worth doing, and I'll make myself do it.
Richard, October 2011
Word count: 148,468