Some people are ideas people and some of us are executers. This is the conclusion I am coming to. I have been struggling with work on my second book, loosely titled Behind the Wall, for weeks. I came to a halt last year when I sent off three chapters to my agent who didn’t fall in love with it and suggested I needed to go away, read more novels and think about it again.
I have followed her advice but I confess to finding many modern novels a giant yawn, somehow tired with life and the stories they are trying to tell before they even begin. Still it was good advice. I learnt things from my reading but the thought of starting the book again from a whole new direction was intimidating.
Then, today, my friend turns up for coffee. Our regular Friday ritual where we analyse the world and say the stuff we truthfully think but don’t shout out loud. He casually drops into the conversation that he’s been reading a new version of The Canterbury Tales and he’s had this idea for my book. In two sentences he comes up with the most amazing concept of how I can look at the whole story from a different angle.
I sit there open mouthed. How can it be that, after months of thinking of ways to begin, he just throws out the best idea like it is nothing?
My friend is an ideas man. He throws out a million genius ideas before breakfast and another twenty before tea. He is cursed with ideas. They come so thick and fast and are all so clever that he rarely follows them through.
I am an executor. He comes up with one idea, one lightbulb idea and I wish to sit down and begin to put it into action. I can turn his idea into something. I very much hope.
Unfortunately today, I must face reality. I cannot crack on with his idea as I have to re-edit my first book, On the Marshes. A book which came out of an idea, that now I think of it, may well have been his.