Sunday 4 May 2008

Preparations for my second novel

Still haven't found an agent for my first novel Cyprus Blues but what the hell, a writer has to write.

My second novel is a murder mystery with the provisional title of Winchester Blues. The first murder takes place in a comprehensive school which I've called Winchester High, based on a school I used to teach in. I've taken lots of photos of the school and am now looking to find a plan of the site. I asked at the Winchester Planning Office but it was going to cost me £25.50 for a photocopy so, instead, I've commissioned my husband to find the site on Mappy. So, thank you Mappy.

The main characters and plot I'd already roughly outlined several years ago, as part of a Writer's Bureau assignment. But since I've been researching police procedures, I know I'll need to make a few changes. The developments in forensics are pretty impressive and I've certainly learnt that it's actually very difficult to get away with murder e.g. if you leave just one hair at the crime scene and it can be matched with your hair and you don't have an explanation as to how it got there, you're done for.

So, I'd better stick to just writing about murder. I am, however, surprised to discover that I'm really looking forward to bumping off a few unsavory characters. In fact, relishing the idea.

I've also been given some great advice from Freddy, an ex-cop, who is now a trainer at my gym, I've agreed to give him a role in the novel. I just hope he realizes what he's letting himself in for. I can be a terror once I get the creative urge. After all, all's fair in love, war and fiction.

The easy part is going to be writing the novel and I'm already itching to start chapter one but first, I have to meticulously plot out the action, weaving in not just real clues but loads of false ones and the real tricky part will be to place all my characters where I want them within a very short time frame of the first murder.

So, I'd better stop writing this and crack on. It's going to be so much fun!

P.S. Just had to share this with you! I'd spent ages planning out the layout of the classrooms in one of the school's buildings and had a few spaces left. Luckily, I realized that I hadn't included rooms for Heads of Year and I just had enough spare rooms, so, great I thought.

Then, on a visit to a local pub that I don't usually go to because my regular is being refurbished, to have a coffee and fag between pilates and a swim, I visited the loo and was overwhelmed by the awful sharp grapefruit smell in there, obviously an air-freshener, and I thought: 'This would be great to include in my novel because it's the kind of spray one of my characters, Betty Chapman - a secretary - would use in the staff toilets, much to the annoyance of other members of staff, which would prove to be a nice little detail to show character. But then I realized that I hadn't put in any toilets in my plan - for staff or pupils.

Since lots of things happen in school toilets and I, myself, could pee for England, I had to laugh at such a glaring mistake.

So, it's back to the drawing board again.

Will I ever start that first chapter!!!

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