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North Yorkshire to New York! Knowing when it’s time.

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Moving into the new year, I had five ideas contending with each other, vying for top-spot on the priority chart. But, Shelly 3 wasn’t going to budge, sitting comfortably in pole-position; she’s a given. However, one story-line in particular was niggling me, continually bugging me, forming as fleeting snapshots in my mind – as it had done for years – but this time nudging me to set sail. Bang, there it is again. “Pick me, pick me.”

Thing 1 and Thing 2.

So I did it. I decided to write two novels in tandem.

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Feels a bit strange, tbh. Similar to working on a Double-Album, I guess; different moods, instruments, themes. Do they conflict? Well, it’s more like learning French and Chinese together, than it is Portuguese and Spanish. Writing one in first, and one in third person, does the trick. Young adult fantasy, and adult thriller; oranges and apples.

1,000 words in to the second idea, it stalled; really rather suddenly. A little taken aback, I tried to push, but it felt forced, and intrinsically unnatural, and all within half-an-hour. Pretty quickly (and I know when this happens), I have to take my hands off, and follow the inner stirrings.

Went to bed on it.

Had a dream about a particularly bizarre murder-mystery, and on waking thought: there’s only one character in my imagination who can solve any of this next-level weirdness.

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So, I docked Thing 2.

Yep. It fooled me. I liked the cut of its jib, and thought trade winds would swiftly catch hold, and the journey would be smooth. But, it wasn’t.

And here I am now. An idea that didn’t even receive a nod in my new year’s honor’s list, is taking precedent.

10,000 words written in a relatively short space of time. It’s moving me, and that’s a good sign. ‘This’ character entirely floats my boat. Haven’t visited NYC since 1997, and this one’s based all along the east coast, so I’m researching topography and freeways hard, seeking out those subtle nuances to make this detailed and realistic.

It’s not over, till its over, so send me good thoughts.

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Also, do leave comments. (My stats show folk are reading these, wink, wink 😉) When you’re shifting your writing sights from North Yorkshire to New York – and you’re sailing the Atlantic alone, in the dead of night – a few kind words, are like starlight above.

(I rattled this off with wine, so apologies for any typos.)

James Steven Clark

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