When you’re writing, you’re conjuring. It’s a ritual, and you need to be brave and respectful and sometimes get out of the way of whatever it is that you’re inviting into the room – Tom Waits
Now that I’ve written and published my first novel, I’m finally settling down enough to actually focus on writing a second novel. I actually wrote a scene for the new novel last spring because that scene wouldn’t leave me alone.
I haven’t worked on it since because of the research I need to do. Let’s just say the new story will be vastly different from the first novel.
Different genre. Whole different level of intensity.
I’m exercising my choice to not stay in one genre. I’m exercising my choice to explore other genres. But what genre my stories will find themselves categorized in, is of little importance to me. Genres are labels — a way of sorting out what a reader might want on their night table or home library shelf.
I’m more concerned with telling a really good story. Doesn’t matter if the next idea becomes a psychological thriller or a collection of comedic adventures of a romantically challenged 14-year-old teenaged boy, if it’s a story that needs to be told, I will give it a voice.
As much as I want to give voice to the story percolating in my mind and let the characters loose into the world they have every intention of inhabiting, I can’t let them run wild just yet. I have the main characters’ physical qualities firmly set for the story. But it’s their backstories I need to flush out. Their pasts, especially the one belonging to the main character, will inform how they behave and make decisions in the present.
In order to flush out the backstories, I need to do some research. The main character led a very specific kind of life before his present one and I need to be as precise and correct as I can be with his previous life.
Yes, I’m probably speaking quite vaguely about this character’s past life but I don’t want to make specific references to the plot or the characters. Why give it away. I’ll be holding them close to the vest for the foreseeable future.
And if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pretty fucking excited to get the ball rolling on the second novel. It’s a story I want to tell. It’s a story I need to tell.
Telling this story will have a variety of challenges for me simply because I’ve never written in this particular genre before or dealt with the subject matter in a literary manner. The complexities of the characters and their relationships excite me. The subject matter, while potentially difficult on an emotional level, is rich with all kinds of possibilities in the way the main characters’ stories could unfold.
I’ve also put together a more definitive collection of music which will be the soundtrack for my writing sessions and, most likely, for the novel. I had been keeping my ears open to new music and pieces I had never heard before in the attempt to find something that would help set the mood of the storyline for me and set my imagination on fire. Even though I will have accumulated quite a bit of music, there will always be something worth throwing into the mix throughout the writing process.
I had refrained from working on the storyline because of the effort needed to get The Raven Sonata published. Now that I’ve let it loose into the world, I have no excuses for not putting down a solid foundation for the second novel.
There is a part of me that wants to write a story that is difficult to read because of the subject matter and the intensity of some of the scenes. I want to challenge. I don’t know if the story percolating in my head will be the one to challenge the reader but I think I am headed in that direction.
To help kickstart the work I need to do, I’ll be heading out to INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair this coming weekend to attend some writing workshops. I’ve also never been to a book fair. This should be interesting. Nothing like a little professional development and a little inspiration. I’m not sure what I’m going to be knee-deep in, but as long as it’s informative and fun, I’m game. I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded people and possibly gaining access to resources that could come in quite handy somewhere down the road.
It will be good to clear my head and get back into writing. The shirt sleeves are rolled up. My fingers are resting lightly on the keyboard. Ready for a new challenge.