I’m near the end of the first draft of my novel now, just about 76,000 words in (I think the end point is going to be around 85-90,000 words in total). It’s weird getting to this point and having written over half of the thing in the past month, it’s also been exhausting. I bumped into a friend the other day who works with writers and who asked me, “Is it a bit like the novel is more real than the rest of the world at the moment?” and that, to me, hit the nail on the head.
I suppose that’s a good thing, and I hope it comes across when it’s all finished.
The book, by the way is called ‘Cowards’ which is something from the first chapter. I thought I’d share the actual story behind it, which is also kind of where the idea of the novel came from.
My great aunt died last year, my grandmother too. They lived across the way from each other in a hospice run by nuns. When they died, we had to go through all of their things, their lives and belongings. One of the things we found was a family tree which managed to trace one side of my family back all the way to the 1700’s. It’s an impressive piece, and my uncle has it now. The interesting thing is, my family can be traced all the way back to a guy called William Coward. Contrary to what you might assume it means. Coward is closer related to bravery.
“It is occupational, and a development of the Olde English pre 7th century ‘cu-weard’ meaning a cattle guard. In the ancient times the ownership of cattle was a sign of considerable wealth, even today in certain parts of the world a person wealth is judged purely on the numbers of cattle owned. To be a ‘cu-weard’ was the opposite of the modern meaning of ‘coward’. It was often necessary to show extreme bravery to fight of the persistent cattle rustlers.” Surname database
But it’s interesting. I got thinking about that name and it stuck with me for ages. Festering in the back of my mind. What if a name could predict the path of a whole family? What if it could doom someone?
That’s where the novel starts from.
I’m excited to see where it leads me in the end.