I'm at that intriguing, exhilarating, slightly nerve-racking stage of gearing up to write. This means that I'm not doing any writing at all, just leaving my idea to marinade, and working up the sense of atmosphere that is so necessary before I start. I enjoy this time - the daily discipline hasn't started yet, the fretting over plot clunks and stodgy bits, and the story is open to me with all its possibilities.
Meanwhile, I'm indulging in various start-up rituals. These include: finding a desktop background for my laptop which sets the right tone; filling the noticeboard in my study with pictures and words; making a playlist of background music (Rautavaara, Gyorgy Ligeti, Arvo Part and Jan Garbarek); ah yes, and buying a notebook. The purchase of notebooks can be a major displacement activity, but this time, after rejecting several, I bought a plain lined pad in order to customise the cover. I don't want to intimidate myself by using a notebook so beautiful that I'm reluctant to scribble and cross out in it.
I never discuss the forthcoming story with anyone. I hate talking about work in progress, and to talk about it before I've even started would more than likely be fatal to the life of the story - reduce anything to plot, and it immediately sounds trite, and not worth writing. My story has to keep its magic for me. And, although this is going to be quite a short book, it has to feel big, and this stage is important in letting it grow and spread all by itself. I have to build up a hunger for writing, while denying myself any writing at all until the time comes.
And, of course, one of the pleasures given by a book-in-waiting is that in my mind it's the consummate work of fiction I'd like it to be. I don't yet have to face the shortcomings that will become apparent as soon as I start to put one word after another.
I've got a title. I've got my ingredients. I'm brewing up atmosphere. There is still a lot that I don't know, and won't know for a while yet, but soon I'll be ready to start.