Sunday, October 16, 2011

And so it begins. Again.

It feels as though every time I write a new blog post I seem to be apologising for or at least acknowledging the fact I haven't been keeping this blog up to date. So I'm not going to do that this time.

What I'm going to write about is new beginnings. Because for the fifth time in my life I am starting a new novel (discounting of course all the false starts I had in my 20s when I should never have been attempting a novel, but counting my first, unpublished novel). What happened to the last one I was writing? Well, if you look to the right of this blog you'll see my 'picometer' widget which has been tracking my progress on the children's novel I was chipping away at. And guess what? I finished it. Quite a while ago actually. And it's going to be published, too, but I'll post about that in more detail at a later date. Let's just say that I surprised myself, because I am always complaining about what little time I have to write with two pre-school-aged (hence the neglected blog) but it turns out that just tapping away a few hundred words here and there actually gets you a book. Admittedly a very short book.

What this all means is that I am starting again. I have been trying to start again. But damn, I have just been reminded how damn hard beginnings are. My children's book was actually a breeze in that department. The whole idea came to me while I was out walking one day and I went home and wrote the first chapter. The voice of the story, of the main character, arrived in my head immediately, and once you have the voice, the book just writes itself really. So of course when I had my big idea for my new book, I just expected that I would sit down and out it would come. But it didn't, did it? And then I remembered how long it took me to really get started on Magpie Hall. Months actually. I even wrote about 10,000 words of a completely different book, but that one died a horrible death and Magpie Hall assembled itself from its squashed bones and guts. And it took me so long to find Rosemary's voice. I wrote so much that never made it into the book, just finding my way into her head, into her life. The result being that I knew an awful lot about her, which was a good thing, but at the time it was actually quite painful. I moaned about quite a bit on this blog, actually. In fact I started this blog as a diary of writing Magpie Hall, really. Maybe this process will bring me back to this blog as I work through things.

So. New beginnings, and lots of words to write that will never make the final cut but which will get me into the head of my character. In the meantime I am learning things about her, and her family, who I think will be quite wonderful. They're already becoming like real people in my mind, just not on the screen. I won't lie, it's an exciting time, but I just have to remind myself that each book is not necessarily as easy as the last.

Here's what I'm listening to at the moment in case you interested. Tiny Ruins' Some Were Meant For Sea. Sad and sublime. Nothing like a bit of melancholy to get me writing. (In fact, the cover of this album reminds me of my children's novel)


Anonymous said...

wonderful that you are back - x

Rachel Fenton said...

I echo Gondal-girl. Wishing you heaps of inspiration for your new beginning. You don't get the sense that a body of work is growing when your days are consumed by your offspring growing, but as you say, little by little, it gets done.

Marianne said...

You are a wonder. And I am waiting - on the edge of my large inflatable ball/seat - for more news of the children's novel. As you know well I now have 12 nephews and nieces as well as my two godsons and a gazillion beloved-children-of-beloved-friends so I think a children's novel by Rachael King is the best thing that could possibly happen.


John Michael Cummings said...

Dear Rachael,

Can I interest you in reviewing my new work of fiction, UGLY TO START WITH, published last month by West Virginia University Press?

I've won awards for my writing and would love to tell you about my accomplishments. Please write to me at

I would be very grateful.



Elisabeth said...

I find beginnings far easier than endings. Good luck with this one.

KAT ADL'S said...

yaahh good for you..what discipline. I am revelling in my laziness at the moment,knowing it is coming to an end. Looking forward to your new book.Regards KAT

Melissa said...

I came across your gorgeous web site and promptly ordered Magpie Hall after reading about it. It arrived two days ago and I cannot put it down! I wish it was more readily available in the U.S. since I will selfishly hoard my copy but want to recommend it to everyone, especially writer friends. Any plans for international publishing? I love everything about the book (I'm about two thirds through), and enjoyed reading your blog posts about its creation. And I'm a swing dancer too! :) Next in my TBR pile is The Sound of Butterflies, which I was able to get on my Kindle. Can't wait.

Rachael King said...

Hi Melissa, thanks for dropping by and for buying my book from so far away! Alas, my US publisher didn't feel Magpie Hall was a suitable follow up to The Sound of Butterflies in the US market, so it's not available there yet. It looks as though it will soon be available as an e-book (if it's not already) on Amazon. The publishing world is a baffling place at the moment!