Awan Lake: on planning a novel (!)

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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Author: peter

Peter Kingsmill was born and raised near Montréal but soon after high school chose to move west, first to British Columbia then eventually settling in Saskatchewan. He has worked at an eclectic mix of tasks - reporter and editor, logger, trucker, cattle farmer, and riverboat captain. Peter and his wife Valerie live at Hafford, Saskatchewan, near Redberry Lake where his work resulted in his being presented with the Governor General of Canada's Conservation Award in 1991. Peter is past-chair and founding director of the Redberry Lake (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve, He currently serves as publications editor with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists and works as a consultant on regional development projects when he is not writing a novel or sailing on his beloved Redberry Lake. He joined Crime Writers of Canada as a Professional Author Member in 2018.

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