Exploring the Possibilities (Cecilia Peartree)

One of several virtual writers' groups I am part of is called Campers' Canteen - we first 'met' via one of the NaNoWriMo events and have stuck together now for several years, though not on the main NaNo website, which has apparently become rather toxic - not that I've witnessed that for myself, but I've received several emails from them apologising for things I didn't know had even happened, and sharing their plans and promises to do better in the future.

The point of Campers' Canteen is that we mostly communicate with each other during NaNoWriMo events and share our anxieties about writing and (mostly) our regular failures to keep up with our various goals. April brought one of these events and I am happy to say my writing went almost exactly as I had hoped. I finished drafting and editing the latest book in my mystery series (book 27), and it's now live on Amazon etc - see cover pic at the end of this post. But I'm also happy to add that I found time to do some work on a vague idea I've had for quite a while, for an alternate history novel 'inspired' by a conversation with an old friend about the royal succession in the UK.

I had already written a short story which in effect is a prologue to the planned novel - I use 'planned' in a very loose sense! - so I think I will have to incorporate it in the book. It involves a dramatic and completely fictional event which takes place in 1860, maybe ten or fifteen years before the rest of the action, as far as I can tell at present. My goal during April for this was to write a little of the next part of the story which I hoped would help me to decide whether it was worth pursuing further. It has been quite a grim story so far anyway, and the start of the new part included a funeral, but having written a couple of chapters in this vein I've realised I wanted it to be a little lighter, so I plan to introduce another character I hadn't thought of before, and to write an intermediate chapter or two about what happens to her before trying to interweave the stories.

I don't usually do a lot of planning or experimenting, at least on paper. Usually I think of an idea, which I might write down but I sometimes don't - if it nags at me until I have to write something down, then I know it's probably going to work and I will just start writing in a linear way and carry on to the end. I've really enjoyed this phase of exploring and changing my mind about things, plotting and re-plotting as I go, and pausing to reflect every so often. It helps that this is so different from my usual genres, though I am now sure there will be murder and attempted murder and possibly terrorism in this one, so maybe it isn't quite as far from the norm as I imagine!


Umberto Tosi said…
I know the roads you describe so well, although I can never say I'll not fall into the brambles on any given journey. My latest novel is waking up with things to say... i hope. Good luck with your series!

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