The Old Green Bicycle
I stumbled across the above image, posted anonymously on the internet, while I was looking for something else (like you do). It sparked the gem of an idea for my next novel. The Old Green Bicycle is a love story, of friendships and best of all, a story of revenge on love gone wrong. Set in Devon, an area I know well, and has the backdrop of summer festivals in Dartmouth, that lends itself to characters and events that are 'dark.' Why Dartmouth? Well Dartmouth is a beautiful place and an area I love, second only to my home county of Kent. The geography of Dartmouth lends itself nicely to the storyline with its river, steep hills, a castle and a mermaid. Plus, Dartmouth hosts festivals that are fun to hang the storyline onto. I've included, The Music Festival that happens in late spring; Shakespeare Week at beginning of August; The Dartmouth Regatta in late August and last but not least, The Food and Drink Festival in October. I may have taken some liberty with the dates, but I'm allowed! There are other festivals in and around Dartmouth but these suit me just fine.
The Old Green Bicycle is in it's first draft, the story arc is being planned out so I can get a feel for it and how it all 'hangs' together. It feels raw, slightly messy and suspect to inevitable change that will come with the next draft and the editing. I'm not worrying too much about grammar and the 'poetry' of the prose at the moment, though if something descriptive feels right, in it goes! Dialogue I find easy to do as I can hear the characters and see the story unfold like a movie reel in my head. So yes, I do talk to myself, cuppa in hand! Though if I'm talking out loud with the windows open, who knows what my neighbours might be thinking!
The story opens with Mary. Forty years ago, her younger sister, Carol, ran off with Mary's fiancé, Will. Neither of them have been in contact with Mary in all that time. One day, Mary discovers an old green bicycle outside her home, with a note from Will asking her if they can meet up "for old times sake?" Just as Mary has a new love interest, nick named Pete the Pirate. There are other characters and subplots ~ some are somewhat bonkers, including a crocodile loose in the River Dart ~ and no I'm not going to reveal too many details just yet. Mary though is no longer the same little mouse she was back then, and has been gently simmering over matters ever since.
It's exciting to give birth to something new (there goes the midwife in me), and I was champing at the bit to get going with my ideas. Writing is hard work at the best of times but something wasn't quite right with my characters ~ I needed to get to know them and their reactions more deeply.
So, how better than to have my main characters have a conversation, be on the couch, with an imaginary psychiatrist? I wanted to capture their thoughts and feelings. Triggered by an initial couple of questions, I wrote without worrying about the quality of my writing, as it needed to be free flowing without being self-conscious of style or inhibited in any way. What's more, this process went on to reveal a twist in the plot that I hadn't considered before, and one that actually makes good sense! In my next posting ~ Do the voices in my head bother you? ~ will be a snippet of the conversation between Mary and her virtual Psychiatrist.