Sorry, sorry (but not that sorry)

The thing is, I’m whelmed by something – an idea, or a project or possibly (whisper this) even a novel.

And I believe that if you’ve got an inchoate idea you should focus on it, follow it around, play with it, but not talk about it. Never share it until you could pick it out of an identity parade without hesitation as being the suspect in question. Why?

Because other people’s views, no matter how well-meaning, colour our own intellectual exercises. I once had an utterly fantastic idea for a novel, and mentioned it to a dear friend, who replied ‘Oh that’s been done already’ and told me about a book she’d read that was, indeed, quite similar in theme and content. I thought about it, and felt the idea was still strong and compelling, but every time I tried to formalise it to a novel’s structure, I felt uncomfortable, as if I was on the verge of plagiarism, even though I hadn’t read the novel in question - so I abandoned the idea completely. Only to see a newly-published book with a similar theme and content win a fairly substantial prize this very year …

So I’ve got this idea and I’m living with it, but it does make me rather uncommunicative blogwise, because when a big idea enters your head, it rather crowds out all the other things that you might usually have talked about. And that’s part of the process of being a writer, so although I’m a bit sorry, and feeling as if I’m letting folk down, I’m profoundly happy to be gripped by a new idea that’s so exciting it’s shoving everything else to the margins.

Also there’s been this snow and I’m a snow maniac, so I shall wish you a very merry Christmas and a deliriously happy New Year and leave you with a picture of the snow to enjoy.

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