Raw Meat .. Nicola Batty's Newsletter.

Friday, November 03, 2006

November Postings...




It’s a great relief to be creating something new in The Space Between… for I was getting pretty fed up with rewriting old stuff and changing various bits and pieces, though of course this still goes on; what you read is really only the finished product and it’s easy to forget all the hours of hard work that have gone into it! Such are the joys of writing… I can’t complain really because it plagues me if things aren’t quite right. I didn’t feel happy about going on with a novel unless it’s right because things develop from what’s gone before… if that makes any sense. The whole process is rather like the natural growth of a plant or something, where twigs and buds grow out of other branches… so you can't reach the flower until you’ve got all the green shoots and twigs before. Not very well explained, I know, but I hope you can see the symmetry.

I still have in mind the idea of The Space Between becoming a trilogy, simply because of the length of it. But also the length of time expands, which is about 30 years, so each book could deal with a decade; I want to make the first book concentrate on Wilde (sort of, although he never makes an appearance!). I wanted to call this book something definitely Wildean, though not too obvious. My favourite idea is To be Suggestive which is part of an actual quote from Wilde about writing fiction… so it seemed completely relevant. The main object of the book is to mix historical fact with fiction, and it’s not necessary for Wilde himself to appear in the novel… I just want to use his ideas.

Back to chapter four. I was immediately tempted to include my own fictional version of Freddie in The Space Between as soon as I read about him in Robbie Ross’s biography. It seemed he was a gap just waiting to be coloured in; though there was very little detail given about his parents, his life, and no photos or physical description! This would not do, so I set to work with my pen (or rather, Ruth’s fingers!). It seemed so very unfair that the only mention of him is in relation to Ross… though this is perhaps inevitable in a biography. Anyway I thought that he and Ross should have a first meeting years before the actual historical meeting happened – or at least that’s what the biographies claim. But who knows? My fiction may turn out to be more factual than fact!

It’s strange the way that Emma has grown out of being a completely faceless character; she has elbowed her way to the forefront and now stands shoulder to shoulder with Harriet in importance. She was only mentioned very briefly in Ross’s biography and I didn’t intend to put her in my novel at all… it just happened. Although I’ve been rewriting all the old chapters to make her have a different life. You may not recognise Emma at first… she was originally called Christina and was a school teacher – which I realised was totally implausible for the 1880s. So she’s now married… though I’m still a little worried that I’m making her thoughts too modern for a Victorian mind. What do you think?

Another reason I like the title of To be Suggestive is that it hints at something slightly naughty – so would arouse interest! But more importantly this undercurrent of homosexuality is central throughout the book… we have Rick and Shan and later Ross and Freddie… and perhaps Jack and Freddie. Though I’m not sure about this, we’ll see. MORE RAW MATERIALS IN RM#75.


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