My regular readers will probably already be familiar with my habit of churning out, as some would have it, pretty big chunks of writing at regular intervals. I’ve always enjoyed getting words down and, it’s true, I can be a little obsessive at times.
That’s why at the beginning of the year I didn’t make any resolutions to moderate my output. After taking time off over Christmas I had a sneaking suspicion that 2010 would find me, creatively, at least, even more fired up than I have been in the past.
And I wasn’t mistaken. Whilst I have managed to keep a fairly healthy balance, taking time away from all things writing-related, as much as possible, I have so far this year nailed down 25,000 words — taking As Morning Shows the Day up to 128,000 words. It’s a huge project which should, fingers crossed, be finished late spring/early summer, but it has been and continues to be a delight to write. Part of this, of course, as I may have mentioned before, is the fact that I’m now writing as “a published author”. Knowing that the piece you’re working on is — unless you really louse it up — going to end up “out there” with your other work is a great motivator (for me, at least.)
I think with this project, however, it also has a great deal to do with the novel’s origin. It isn’t an entirely new piece. In fact, I wrote the first version of it something like fifteen years ago. The kind of tail that requires distance, a sense of nostalgic retrospection, I didn’t do too bad a job with that earlier version — but it did have a number of problems, all largely centred around lack of experience, both personal experience, that is, and writing experience. The essence was there, but it lacked scale and skill.
How much of these qualities I now possess, I don’t know, but it’s certainly safe to say that I am more accomplished as a writer — and hopefully as a human being! And I’m extremely happy with the results so far.
I think I may have mentioned here in the past that writing this novel feels very much like an act of remembrance (which, of course, it is, though not quite in the way I mean.) My approach has been to write it without looking at that earlier version, to wander through my memories of what it was and recreate from that, and I think this is more than anything is helping me achieve the nostalgic tone I’ve already mentioned. It’s as if I lived it rather than wrote it. The old informs the new and lends it something I couldn’t otherwise have achieved.
Which actually fits rather nicely with the whole theme of the novel: “the childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day” — Milton, Paradise Regained.
I wish I could say I planned that, but I didn’t
A sample chapter of If I Never can be read here.
To buy your copy of If I Never, please click here.
© 2010 Gary William Murning