A Novel Observed #1 – Concept

Concept - Characters - Plot

Concept – Characters – Plot

This is the first in a series of posts that will track the full process of writing a novel from concept to completion.

As I go through this series, my intention is to actually write a complete novel from scratch and self-publish it in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats. And it all begins with a single concept.

They say that you should write the book you want to read, and this got me thinking about the criteria for my ideal novel. I’ve narrowed it down to a journey of self-discovery, based in the country, that covers issues of smallholding and gives a snapshot of small village life. That’s the sort of book I want to read, and I’ve run out of H E Bates novels!

This then is the concept with which I am going to be working in this novel:

A guy in his twenties, who is 100% a city person (lived his whole life in London, and loves it) is sent by his friends for a week in Devon to ‘prove himself’. During the week he is to live and work on a smallholding, where he is given various tasks such feeding pigs, lambing, mucking out horses, milking goats, making sausages and killing chickens. At first, of course, he hates it and all he can think about is getting back home to his life in the city. But (also of course) he is gradually worn down and won over by the people he lives and interacts with – especially the daughter of the local village shopkeeper! By the end of the week, when he returns to London, he realises that city life has lost its charm and he longs to be back on the smallholding.

So that’s the concept. And that’s all I’ve got for now…

…except, of course, a working title. In true H E Bates style, I’m going to take a line from a poem. He got ‘The Darling Buds of May’ from Shakespeare’s sonnet 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”. I’m going to use W H Davies poem “Leisure”… so my working title is: ‘No Time To Stand And Stare‘.