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Thursday 27th March

27/03/2003

I’m working on a new novel now. I can’t talk about the details incase I confuse myself. It’s like starting a long journey..inventing the characters who I will have to travel with, and making an inventory of useful things to take with me, trying not to fall into the traps of other novels. Most important is to give ones characters motivation, because if you don’t the whole thing collapses by page 50. Also to decide what one wants the reader to worry about ie the hook. Then to uncover the language and tone of the novel, which is perhaps the most difficult thing of all.

Exciting though…like exploring a new country and working out how to live there!

The other thing that has happened recently is that we’ve had a rat in the house. This has caused unimaginable disorder and panic. Ratty bites through pipes and wires, and has ruined the cooker. He’s made nests out of dusters and chocolate wrappers. It is a very clever rat, but not clever enough to LEAVE now we’re onto it. Alan the rat catcher comes round regularly with his buckets of poison in a blue hold all. He says things like…it could have up to ten babies…or, there’s nothing like the smell of a dead rat next to a heating pipe….he’s put down lots of red bowls filled with blue pellets. Today he is putting down traps, but Ratty keeps going. It has eaten whole boxes of chocolates, and emptied pans of potatoes. We no longer eat at home. It’s crazy. I keep telling people I’m having problems with a rat, and they mis-hear me and think I’m saying ‘I’m having problems with Iraq’ !

Thanks to everyone who recommended novels. Perhaps you can give me some tips about getting rid of rats!

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