Friday 26 October 2012

My Next Big Thing

The very light and lovely Polly at Caught Writing has tagged me to talk about My Next Big Thing using the questions below, and then to pass the baton onto fellow bloggers and writers. I am very glad and honoured she chose me, as it just so happens I have an idea! This meme originally began, I believe, by Karen McCann, author of Dancing in the Fountain.

So, My Next Big Thing, I hope, is that I'm taking tentative steps towards penning my first feature length story. As this is my first attempt at writing a chunky piece of fiction, I thought it a wise idea to stay within the confines of my comfort zone, writing about what I know, and have experienced. The main career and creative arcs in my life so far have been within the music industry, as a DJ, and psychology, as a counsellor. I should rightly include being a mum as well! The story is essentially a psychological drama/thriller set in the mid-nineties clubbing scene.

I have been thinking and dreaming my novel since March this year. I'm still very much ensnared in the planning and plotting stage, for me, it's very important the subplots I have in mind, gel clearly and believably with the main thread of the story. I'm about to take a deep dive into the shape and tone of my characters, and that should really help tie up the looser ends of the various plots.

Anyway, here are more of the details...

What is the working title of the project?
It was only a week or so ago that the name came to mind. I may well change it, at the moment, the title is based on the main back bone of the tale. And the title is... Four Gigs. I guess I wanted a punchy title that really related to the job of the main protagonist, Jessica Dance, and the social scenery the story is set against. And as a sub heading/title to Four Gigs I am possibly thinking of something along the lines of....'What happens when your groove goes missing.' A strap line such as this could work on a variety of levels with the story's themes and character journeys.

Where did the idea come from?
Originally, I had in mind a story whereby the main character is a therapist, that idea is still whirring away behind the scenes. Then, through writing my Once Upon a Time posts, and this post in particular, I really started thinking about my life as a DJ, and how I almost 'made the big time' but didn't quite due to circumstances I'll save for another blog post. I liked the idea of writing a story that combined my past and current passions, music and psychology. Living vicariously through my main character, and her career success, may help to lay to rest some of the lingering residues of what, for me, could have been and never was. I think it's the most fitting story for me to pen, and I have a lot to gain from writing it.

What genre does the project fall under?    
I have to admit to being a little clueless here, as I'm not really aware - apart from the main ones - of all the genres out there... But Four Gigs would lie somewhere between psychological drama and thriller, I think.

Which actors would you chose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Now this, I found, was a tricky question, given that I haven't watched much TV or many films of late. Whoever I choose for the central characters would need to be in their late twenties, and thirties. So I did a little research basing my decision solely upon whether the face was a good fit. And here is my all British cast of main players...

  • Jessica Dance - Felicity Jones, she has the dark brown hair and green eyes and straight forward, natural, almost tom boyish femininity that Jessica possess.

Felicity Jones as Jessica Dance - Image, Google.

  • Ben Jones, Jessica's current boyfriend - Jim Sturgess, remember how cocky and irritating he was in the film of the book, One Day?
  • Katrin Chase, Jessica's friend of dubious intent - Ruth Wilson, who can aptly carry off 'seductive'.
  • Lucas 'Flipper' Dance, Jessica's younger brother, who suffers from bi-polar disorder - Jamie Bell, he can weather an expression that looks like he's got a lot on his plate.
  • Lucy Dance, Jessica's mother - Kristin Scott Thomas, intelligent, critical, both strong and fragile.
  • Richard Dance, Jessica's father - Bill Nihy, I think he would play the 'philandering buffoon' rather well.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your project? 
This is going to be a challenge, so I will attempt to give this my best shot...

Jessica Dance, or Jessy D, is a talented and very in-demand club DJ with plenty of, and perhaps too much ambition, until the day she finds herself with the wrong record box, and has to make choices, about her career, her relationships, everything she knows, until ultimately, she's forced to face the reality, and the fallout from a childhood accident.   

How was that for an elevator pitch?  I hope it wasn't too cliched and unoriginal, it may need some work.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
In all honesty, given how saturated the publishing market is, I think this novel may need plenty of self marketing first before an agent takes the remotest interest, so I will probably go down the self publishing route, which is no bad thing given applications like Kindle.

How long will it take to write the first draft? 
This may not be realistic but I would like to have the first draft written within a year and a half. I am hoping when Little A's hours increase at nursery next year, I will have the time to write this, or else, there are going to be some early mornings!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Again, this was quite difficult as I haven't read fiction widely for a while, it's been psychology texts and baby books for the last few years or so! However, I am a big fan of Ian McEwan, he is a master of narrative twists, writes beautiful prose, and isn't afraid to explore the darker recesses of the human mind, especially in his earlier works. I find reading, acknowledging, the more unpleasant side of human behaviour, something we all have the potential for, thanks in large to the reptilian part of our brain, a cathartic experience. Although not really related in genre, I'm also a fan of Douglas Coupland. I love his philosophical take on the human condition, and how well rounded and authentic his characters are. His novels are littered with quirky, well observed personalities.

Who or what have inspired you to write this novel?
My career as a DJ, and being a part of something that was at the time, so exciting, so anti-establishment, so much fun; the acid house movement of the late eighties and nineties. It was a time of wonderful creativity, personal happiness and I was blessed with so much opportunity. In a way I want this story to be a thank you, a love letter, to the music scene that gave me a life, a purpose, a reason not to work the nine to five.

What else about your project might pique your readers interest?
The story is set in Leeds, Manchester and London. I want to make the clubbing experience, the DJ lifestyle as authentic as I can by referencing the clubs, record shops, music, and some of the actual DJ's that existed at the time. This story isn't just about clubbing and DJ'ing though, they're the back drop, it's really about the relationships between Jess, her family, friends and boyfriend, and the interpersonal conflicts she has to understand and work through. I'm hoping the story won't just appeal to twenty and thirty somethings, but to the now forty and fifty somethings who partied and played back in the day.

And now I would like to pass the torch onto the following bloggers and writers who I think are great. (Please don't feel obliged to do this, and your project doesn't have to be a novel or writing in general).

Lynsey the Mother Duck - Lynsey is currently writing a piece of fiction, Camomile Crescent on her blog, which is really well written, and I think she has some other writing projects up her sleeves too, so I'm very much looking forward to reading what she has to say.

Dorky Mum - I really, really, really enjoy her writing, and I have a sneaking suspicion she has some bigger writing projects in mind. And if she has, I'm dying to know what they are!

Mummy Plum - She writes the most beautifully enchanting posts, and I think she is working on something at the moment, but as she is a month away from meeting her second child, I won't hold her to responding to this, maybe at a much later date ;o).


  1. This is all beautifully exciting and I look forward to the finished product eventually. I'm also tagged on this Meme and you've set that bar!

    1. Thank you - and I am very much looking forward to what you have to share!

  2. Well I'm hooked. You need to get on and write it now.I can tell how much thought has gone into the work you have already done and I'm impressed that you have found a plot that seems original and exciting. I love writing but have no idea where I would even begin on such a huge project. The cast are also mighty fine, hope I wont be waiting t o long for the film either.

    1. Thank you - that's very kind. A need to do a few more tweeks and then I will take the plunge! I actually read a couple of books on writing fiction, which have helped. The cast ended up being quite accurate - especially Jess!

  3. That's exactly my preferred genre, I'd definitely buy your book! Best of luck with it. I admire anyone who is inspired enough to go write a book :-)

    xx Jazzy

    1. Thank you Jazzy! I love a good yarn with a complex plot, and good characters - I hope I can do my story justice!

  4. That was jolly interesting. I like the title. Even though you haven't mentioned it, I kept thinking of a Frasier/ radio phone in slant when I was reading this too. It sounds as though you're making great progress with developing the characters and sub plots. Can't wait to hear more. I would love to respond to the tag - maybe I'll have more time to cogitate whilst breastfeeding and be able to do so in the new year. x

    1. Glad you are going to participate after all, Mummy Plum. I thought this would be right up your street!

    2. Thank you! You've given me some food for thought! Still have a few more tweeks and things to flesh out, and then I will give writing it a go *gulp*. Writing this post has made it feel a lot more real! Do your post when ever you feel ready ... next Spring, next Autumn 2014 .... :o).

  5. This is great, OM, and it seems like you've thought it all out in such detail, really all you need to do now is write it down! It will be a very exciting book and so true to life because you've actually lived it. Looking forward to the finished article.

    1. Thank you Polly! I still have a number of details to iron out and questions to ask, and then I will apply pen to paper or fingers to the key board, and get writing this thing!

  6. Good luck, you sound like you have a really well thought out plan and some excellent ideas! :)

    1. Thank you very much for your positive feedback - glad you like my ideas :o).

  7. All I can say is I very much look forward to reading it! Good luck with the writing x

  8. sounds good! look forward to updates! will you post bits of it up? x

    1. Thank you - yes, I am hoping too - might be useful to gain some feedback. X.


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