So today has been sunny, with a little bit of cleaning, and a fair amount of writing thrown in. The sky is a rainbow of blues, and orchestral Anakin symphonies hum in the background. I love days like today, days where everything is possible, and you have a lot of fun while you do it.
I’ve been writing my first draft of Manchester at Midnight, a fantasy novel set in perhaps one of the weirdest cities in England. I’m 173 pages through the story, which begun a couple of weeks ago while I waited impatiently for people to get back to me with feedback on my first attempt at a novel called The Z-List Celebrities.
I told myself that I wasn’t going to write another novel till I had figured everything else out, and spent some time on short stories and other projects. I didn’t listen, and now i’m about halfway through a story that wasn’t really expected, and certainly not high on my priories list, but one that I found more and more difficult to ignore.
It’s a story split into four stories, each one focusing on a different part of Manchester lore and history. You have the Moonrakers, a bunch of people who try and smuggle dreams to children across a industrious and very adult England. The Celtic Children who didn’t want to grow up, so decided not to. The Trolls who clean the bridges and waterways, pulling the occasional litterer down into the watery depths. And the chandlers, who light tiny lights for the children scared of the dark but have to live in it.
I want to create a world where everyone can take something away, and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been to Manchester, or even know where it is. It’s a story that grew in a little boy, living in the shadow of a great city, who wanted to talk about the things he thought made a city what it is.
Cities are greedy, selfish, and vain. They take from everyone that travels within them, and they love to be recognised, and will do anything to get it. This is a story about a city that isn’t quite any other, but takes little bits from them all. And like the characters in the story, I find myself devoting time and energy into feeding this great beast.
This is a story about a city that’s given midnight, the strangest hour of the day, and perhaps one of the most spooky. It’s a city full of bees, who spend their time trying to pollenate a city trapped in darkness, while people wander through its streets, half-awake and completely oblivious to the magic all around them.