Now I’ve done it. Totally sabotaged my plans and best intentions.
You probably know that my novels are historical fiction, set in that period of massive turbulence around the First World War. And all my outline plots for the next six books are based on developing different characters from my mental cast, so that they can tell their own stories. So far, so good – that’s The Lost Intensities, which I’ve been working on for the last eight years or so.
But now? There’s an interloper in my mental world. It all started on waking up in the small hours of yesterday morning after a particularly vivid dream, a dream that I knew I had to remember when I woke up again. For once, I did; I had all the important elements of that dream fixed in my mind. A man facing a terrible decision: does he stick with the life he knows and had led for years, or take a chance on a different life that he has become increasingly involved in, although it will kill him? (No, it’s not a story about an affair, or family break up or anything similar – I’m not sure I could write that.) I’d got the whole thing in my mind; characters, plot, start, outcome, even a title: Time to Decide!
I ran the plot past my first and most severe critic – my wife – who stopped, thought and then told me that it was probably the best idea for a story I’d ever had, and that I have no choice but to get on and write it, and soon.
The problem is that it is a contemporary story, and not related to the historic genre of all my other books. Plus, of course, I have my planned schedule for writing Lost Intensities already. So now what do I do? Break off and write it? Postpone writing one of my other stories? Or try to write two novels simultaneously?
I’m still pondering – I’ll keep you informed.