For the last few months, I've been tediously researching my book. That's sounds like a weapons-grade humblebrag, but the reality has been genuinely humdrum. Before I could start fleshing out the details of the plot, I needed to know more about certain subjects which play a key role in advancing the story.
In practice, this meant reading Sherry by Julian Jeffs and Anatomy of the Wine Trade by Simon Loftus. See? Hardly the most thrilling titles. I also dipped in to several other wine books and a few articles online. It was laborious, but I got all information I needed, and now have a factual context for the events in the plot, as well as a timeline to ensure the the events work chronologically.
Since finishing the research two weeks ago, I've been able to develop each chapter with the details needed so I can start actually writing without having to stop and look something up. My wall of Post-it notes has grown, and I think the first half of the book (yellow notes) is now pretty much ready to write. The second half (pink) still needs much more development.
Something I'm enjoying about this whole process is the relaxed pace. The only deadline I have set myself is to finish writing the book by the time I'm 40. At the moment, I'm only working on it at a very particular time of day - between 6:30 and 7 each weekday morning - but at that rate, two and half years starts sounding positively optimistic!
In recent years, I generally spent this time studying for the Master of Wine qualification, so it's nice to reclaim this slot for something more recreational. It's ideal for what I've been doing so far - research, plot and character development, brainstorming - though I doubt 30 minute sessions will be as conducive for the Actual Writing Process.
The AWP is looming worryingly large. I could - and probably should - get started with this as of now, but in true procrastinatory spirit I'm musing about the novel's title instead.
The working title is Recognition. This is one of the central themes of the book - the main character craves recognition, while her rival achieves it easily but undeservedly. It sort of refers to recognising wines in blind tastings too, though that's an oblique connection. I need to develop the title into something more obviously wine related. All suggestions welcome.
Once I've got that sorted I can finally start ... thinking about the typeface I want to use. And the cover. Ooh, and the paper stock ...