A Novel Way To Start a Year

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I have been talking for some time about a novel that I will be writing. Well this week I finally got down with myself and the keyboard and got going. As part of the process of creation, I will be blogging every week about the writing of the week preceding and posting it for anyone to interact with.

As the first week so far this has of course been quite trying. I first started working on the idea for this book nearly 3 years ago. Since then I have read some very interesting history books and visited some very interesting places in Johannesburg. Yes, the city plays a major role in the book, almost like a kind of uber character or plot character.

The city of Johannesburg fascinates me. As my home, I am always amazed at how few people are really proud of where they live. Ask any Cape Tonian, Durbanite or Port Elizabether and they will tell you exactly why they love their home and why it is cool. In Joburg we kind of sneer and pass off some off-hand justification to do with money, goals and retiring to the sea. I consider this to be a crying shame!

Firstly Joburg is beautiful in the extreme. Secondly it affords opportunities for growth and self examination like few places on earth. It is these twin thoughts that spawned the first ideas for a book… In many ways this novel is a celebration of the city of Joburg. Not perhaps the Joburg you all know, but definitely parts that you will recognise.

Once that idea was taped down it became a matter of figuring out how to explore the multitude of themes, thoughts and concepts that this train of thought led to… And that was an interesting process in itself. From the featured photo in this post you will see that I worked out an interlocking web of themes and plots that refer back across each other constantly.

Chapter plan
Some thoughts on Part 1...

The other picture shows my chapter plan for the first part of the book (yes it is divided into parts: 4 in all). Because of the mutable nature of the subject, I am loathe to plan too far ahead… and that parts are pretty big in their own right.

So, so far I know where I am going and I know the first 25% of how I am going to get there. Now I have a few weeks of solid writing to worm my way through the maze of story, get to know my characters and explore some of the more whacky ideas that I have typically kept to myself over the years about civilisation, identity, meaning and the effect of our environment on us. Sounds heavy? I don’t think it will be. I suspect more evident will be my black humour, sarcasm and tongue in cheek silliness. But then again, I have been wrong before!

I look forward to you coming along on this journey with me, so please feel free to comment at will!

  1. Chantal Dawtrey

    Good luck, David. The writing process is a fascinating one and I hope that you have immense fun with it. A question: how long do you spend each day writing?

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