This evening I’ve been writing a sequence which was previously only a short flashback that gave the flavour of the event: the breakup between my novel’s main character, Sebastian, and his girlfriend, Juliet. Added to his other woes in the story’s opening, it leads him to go to the Planet Telex nightclub in order to drown his sorrows, where he meets the beautiful and enigmatic Laura and the narrative gets off and running.

So, a scene that I’d never really thought that much about before is down on the page, and I reckon that even in its first draft stage it’s pretty cool. Taking on board the old “write what you know” maxim, I’ve riffed on relationship arguments that I’ve had in the past, exaggerated certain elements, and sought to give the scene a sense of real emotional truth. Hopefully it’ll come across as an inevitability that Sebastian somehow didn’t see coming – even from the very first page of the book, it’s obvious that things aren’t going well in his love life.

The new opening of the novel has a lot more depth than the old one, simply by expanding on things that were always there but only hinted at before. There’s more backstory, and various bits of exposition that aren’t presented as exposition, and the aim is to give much more of an insight into Sebastian’s character than before, to increase his likeability from page one, and make him the flawed everyman right from the start. I’m also hinting at themes and events to come, which will hopefully make any second read pretty fun.

I was meant to be going to see Paranormal Activity 2 this evening, but cried off in favour of writing this stuff. That in itself is a good thing – it means that I think I’m getting somewhere. It’s about time, as I’ve been struggling to work out what to do for a while. There are a couple of issues that I need to sort out further down the line – a couple of story decisions that could go either way, and a big chunk of narrative that I’ve nicknamed the “WTF?! chapter” to think about. That’s probably going to be the hardest bit.

For now, though, I’m pleased with my progress. While it’s all a bit rough and ready due to the usual problems with any first draft material, it feels promising, and while there will doubtless be new problems caused along the way, it’s so far solving the old ones. Tonight I feel like a proper writer again.

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