So today was a late start, which probably had something to do with the inability to sleep before 4 AM over the past couple of nights. It’s ok, i’ve been writing my novel Manchester At Midnight, and i’m just about to finish a 200page notebook, and there’s still two stories left to tell.
It’s been a great couple of weeks, where I can just throw everything into my writing, and not have to worry about all the fiddly little bits. The great thing about a first draft is that it doesn’t have to be any good, which helps you plough through and not constantly re-cover the same ground over and over.
Manchester At Midnight is the easiest story i’ve written, which probably has something to do with it sitting in my head for a year, and a lot of the themes are drawn from all the strange people and moments of my youth. It is about Manchester, and has monsters and magic in it, but it’s really about a kid coming of age, and terrified about the prospects of change and growing up.
One of the main themes in the story is that almost all of the characters share the same fear of change, which is why they come to live in a city trapped in a single hour. The lost kings of Manchester, The troublesome shadow known as the Moonraker, the celtic kids who all decided to jump off a bridge because their friends did it, and there’s even a god who decides its better to remain that to die and be forgotten.
What I love about stories like these is that Liv, our main protagonist, accidentally deals with these issues as she wanders about the city. The villains found in the city aren’t your typical evil people, but those who believe that they are entitled to do as they please, without any repercussions, and Liv is slowly realising that isn’t how things work.
I remember what it was like being a child, which a lot of adults seem to forget, a mistake which can cause them no end of trouble. People think that children are stupid, but they’re wrong, they might lack the nomenclature of an adult vocabulary, but they know their stuff.
Adults are also governed by rules, usually because society dictates we need structure, but kids don’t work this way. If you want a truly scary baddie in a story, make them a child. Bad-guys know the rules and decide to break them, children don’t know the rules, and just do as they please. It’s hard to predict the unpredictable.
In the story the scariest people are the children, such as the Moonraker, who originally came across the world, smuggling dreams for children to use and change things. The Moonraker decided to give dreams to a city, not really knowing what a city would dream of, and the result was Manchester At Midnight.
The Moonraker likes to play games, and as a result helps Liv get back at all of her bullies by scaring them with terrifying nightmares full of huge bees, and being locked away in a retirement home with no-one to care if you die or live. He’s scary, but it’s the fact he doesn’t see it as a bad thing, which makes him dangerous. He’s a lot of fun to write.