I have no title for the novel I am writing. Not even a working title. I also know it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a title. I do spend time thinking about it though, and I came across a blog post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner, which you can read here. In it, Rachelle suggests a series of steps to help unlock a title for your book. I have been working through them, and it’s been an excellent exercise in focusing on themes and words that are key to my novel. As a result, I have a possible title, and at the very least, a clear direction for it. Thanks to Rachelle for bringing that clarity.
I have a typewriter. After reading about them and blogging about them here, I asked for one as a Christmas gift, and started searching. I had thought I would get any old model, but after a bit of browsing on Ebay, I became more selective about design, period and portability. I decided on a Olivetti Lettera 22, a 1959 specimen, which had great write-ups as a design classic. I secured my model, complete with immaculate case and vintage Croxley script paper.
Here it is:
It’s a thing of beauty. Compact, well-designed, a lovely colour. It’s a great example of form and function. And some thoughtful soul had posted the entire instruction manual on a Flickr page. It’s much easier to type on than I imagined, though my overzealous bashing does cause the keys to stick sometimes. Not to mention the overtyping to try to correct my plentiful mistakes. Still, I have started a short story draft on it, and it feels like exactly the right medium for the early stages of this particular tale.
I thought I might ultimately aim for something like this:
I’m just finishing a writing retreat day at Retreat West. The sun is setting on the Exeter skyline, on what has been a beautiful winter’s day. Here is the view from my desk as I write this post:
I’ve never taken part in a day like this before, and I’m surprised how it has focused my mind on the job at hand. I’ve written nearly 2,000 words. A new chapter in my novel, which, earlier in the week I was struggling to get started with. Thanks to Amanda Saint, who organises these days. Tea, coffee, cake and lunch were all provided. So I’ve been able to simply write. Luxurious. I will be back.
P.S. Nearly two weeks into 2013, and I haven’t posted about my new, old typewriter. Yes, I’ve succumbed. Stay tuned.
Am I going to post every time I find an Anne Tyler novel in a secondhand shop? Who knows? I found this one in a Lyme Regis charity shop at the start of the year. A good omen, I thought:
It’s that time of year (i.e. the beginning) when last year’s missed targets don’t matter; a kind of amnesty on failed resolutions. I can wipe the slate clean and embrace the optimism and resolve that, for me, is unique to a new year. Here are a few of the targets I’m hoping to hit in 2013:
- Complete the first draft of my novel
- Submit more work
- Meet all MA deadlines in a calm and orderly fashion
- Read, a lot
- Walk, more
I hope you have had a positive start to 2013.