Writing fiction is like driving a herd of cattle across the American West. It’s fascinating and filthy, it drips with sweat and beauty and it regularly brings you up short against vast lonely vistas against which you’re forced to reappraise your soul. It also wears you out, which is why I’ve been having a bit of a break. But I reckon the time may have come for me to heave these weary bones back into the saddle. This trail’s got a long way still to go and them dogies ain’t gonna herd themselves.
So, the new project. It’s called Black Dog. I’m reasonably sure it wants to be a novel. I say ‘reasonably’ because I’ve stopped short at actually plotting the thing out. I’ve written most of my recent work to detailed outlines and it’s time for a change.
Not that I’m driving completely blind. I’ve got a heap of scrawled notes and head full of strange pictures. I don’t know precisely what the ending is, but I know exactly how it feels. A blurred version of the story has been sitting in my mind for years. During the past couple of months it’s started coming into focus. Finally it’s time to throw some light through it, project it on a screen and see if it’s the epic I think it might be.
The movie analogy’s deliberate, by the way. And more relevant than all that nonsense about driving cattle. That’s because the story’s set in Hollywood in 1933. If you’re a film buff you’ll know immediately what the smash hit movie of that year was, and it will therefore come as no surprise when I tell you this story is my love letter to King Kong.
If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know I’ve mentioned Black Dog before, just in passing. I’ve even published a short extract from an earlier version of the story. What I’m writing now is different. It’s also fragile, which is why I don’t want to say any more. Unwritten stories are like snowflakes. Try and catch hold of them, they melt.
Chase them through the cold night air, however, and they just might lead you to wonderland.