I’ve really only just started work on my second novel. Awan Lake was the working title of my first book as I was writing it, and it stayed that way until I wrote “End” on the last page, when I realized I had created a mystery with a two-week time-line that finished at sundown just after quarter to nine (20:47 navy time). Changing the book’s title was an instant decision: Sunset at 20:47. Seemed so logical, I could hardly believe it was my idea; I certainly didn’t plan it that way.
In case you hadn’t noticed, “plan” is a four-letter word. At a number of points in my varied career, I have been involved with developing plans: business plans, marketing plans and community development plans. I have sometimes had the dubious pleasure of doing this work for people who used a lot of four-letter words but none of them was the word “plan”. One fellow even explained his hatred of the planning process as follows: “I hate f**king plans; every time I plan something it f**king screws up!”
Perhaps he had something there. For me, writing a novel can often feel like walking a tightrope in a wind storm: the plan is straightforward – get to the other end – but an awful lot can happen along the way. So I don’t plan my novels; I just start at the beginning and build from there. However, I do like my characters from Sunset at 20:47: Anderson is like a special friend I am lucky to have met, and Marjorie is a person he needs in his life. Arnold and Marion are two of those salt-of-the-earth people we are all lucky to find in our own neighbourhoods (and their neighbourhood is typical of most rural villages in Canada if not everywhere: welcoming but cautious, proud of its past and worried about its future!)
So here I go again. I like my lake and my village and I know my main characters have more stories to tell. And so, again, the working title is Awan Lake but you can be almost certain that will change!
(And oh yes, I plan to have it published in January. But you know how plans are… please stay with me!)
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