About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Writing about Writing

Never trust the teller, trust the tale.  That's what D.H.Lawrence said.  Well, that makes a bit of a nonsense of the premise of this blog, because I intend to tell you all about the tale I'm telling over on my other blog http://catherine-fox-novel.blogspot.co.uk/

Last Sunday was curiously exhilarating.  I sat in Liverpool cathedral staring up at the great east window during the 10.30 Eucharist, and I wondered whether I'd look back on this as the key that unlocked this wretched novel I've been wrestling with for about 8 years.  Perhaps, like a bluebottle finally despairing over ever getting through that closed French window by banging into it repeatedly, I will turn around and find an open door behind me.

The first Chapter went live at 7pm that night.  It was ready well in advance.  This, I suspect, will not be true in the months to come, when I will still desperately be trying to crank out the last 500 words at 10pm.  I'm thinking about it a lot.  Obsessively.  When you are thoroughly in the grip of a writing project it's a bit like a secret love affair.  If not otherwise occupied, your thoughts stray to the beloved.  So when people say 'Oh, you must be very disciplined to write!' they could not be more wrong.  I have to exert huge self control not to spend my whole time in Lindchester.

I ended with a cliffhanger last week.  A cheap trick, but it worked for Scheherazade.  Never give your reader a convenient breaking-off place.  What I didn't realise is that by having someone called Freddie falling off a roof on New Year's Eve, I had very nearly ripped off The Archers.  Entirely accidental.  I'm a class traitor; I don't listen to Radio 4.  However, I was living in Lichfield Cathedral Close when that episode was broadcast, where you can't move for Archers fans, so perhaps I absorbed the plot-line by osmosis.  That is a partial answer to that age-old question, 'Where do you get your ideas from?'  From the air.  We soak them up without realising it.  It's like all those people twenty odd years ago who spontaneously thought Josh was a lovely unusual name for a baby.

Chapter 2 is shaping up nicely.  The liturgy and the calendar year both provide convenient stepping stones, as do the moments when the C of E hits the headlines.  So I can play with New Year's Day, Epiphany, and the latest on gay bishops.  But you can tell me what you'd like to read about, too.  I may not take you up on your suggestions, but then again.  That's another answer to the question 'Where do you get your ideas from?'  We pinch them.

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