Fourth Wish : Day 1
(The start of a regular series of posts – a writer’s diary – recording the progress of my third novel for teenagers.)
By the time I typed the first sentence of the first draft of The Fourth Wish the idea for the novel had been in my head for several months and forming scribbles in a (new, shiny) notebook for several weeks. The notebook has a picture of an old-fashioned racing car on the cover. I can think of no sport I like less than motor racing.
I mention this for no reason.
This story, like all my other novels, began with a “what if?”
In this case:
1. What if a teenager was granted three wishes?
The notion of three wishes is obviously rooted deeper than that – in my childhood, probably, with Christmas trips to the panto – but I’m not about to start digging there for the true Day 1.
Anyway, the first question gave rise to others:
2. How, or by whom, are the three wishes granted?
3. What does the teenager wish for?
4. And why?
5. What happens then?
. . . and most importantly of all:
6. Who is the teenager?
Because, until I know him or her (her, it turns out) how can I answer questions 3 and 4 – or hope to write the novel at all, for that matter?
The second thing to say about Day 1 is that, truly speaking, this is Day 1 of my blog-of-the-novel. Day 1 of the novel was last Monday, March 25th.
So, in fact, this is Day 7.
Don’t ask how many words I’ve produced so far. I don’t believe in keeping a *word count while I’m writing a first draft. It can be distracting, demoralising.
Or falsely encouraging.
Here is a sneak preview of the opening lines of The Fourth Wish:
You won’t believe a word of this.
I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t believe it either, if it hadn’t happened to me.
The first thing to say about the opening lines of a first draft is that they may not end up being the opening lines of the finished novel.
My main concern at this stage, though, is that I will spend too much time writing the blog-of-the-novel and not enough time writing the novel. If that happens, you’ll be the first to know.
from The Book of Ruminations, by Qi Tinh (151 – 203 AD)
Finally, for now, I’d like to share some ancient words of wisdom from a curious, dog-eared tome I discovered in the Spirituality section of the
Traveller: Where does my journey begin, oh Great Sage?
Great Sage: It begins with you.
Traveller: Where, then, does my journey end?
Great Sage: It ends where it began.