I am putting my most intrepid foot forward and am about to step into a world I have only read about - I am going to write a novel. To date my writing has been of the non-fiction variety, charting my travels from one European city to the next. Now I am preparing for my biggest adventure yet - to the centre of the land of make-believe.
It is a journey much travelled. Millions have made their way in and many have returned with gems of literature that are almost priceless to those who have enjoyed them. Some have taken a wrong turn or two, meandered aimlessly from metaphor to adverb, but still emerged with shiny pebbles that enhance a reader's collection. And some, some remain, unsure of their whereabouts, stuck between a rock and a dodgy plot device, always looking for the perfect diamond, not realising that the rough, ugly stone they hold could be polished to brilliance with the help of a skilled editor.
I hope that my foray into the fictional interior is not too fraught with unexpected pitfalls: no quicksand patches of plot that threaten to swamp me, suck my anticipated denouement beneath the sludge of obviousness and mediocrity; that no echoing caverns entice my characters in so their voices are heard only faintly, and monotonously, as they disappear into the darkness. Of course, I do not expect an easy trip no matter how detailed my road-map; I have to cross the shifting sands of language, that cover and uncover seemingly at will towers of Babel. I dream of emerging with a priceless gem, but I am realistic enough to know that a shiny pebble would be a souvenir worthy of returning with.
My luggage is packed. I will try to keep to the weight limit, not cram in too much, so that I can close it with ease without a plethora of adverbs and adjectives spilling forth. No embarrassing scenes at check-in as I have to discard some unruly paragraphs. I am ready. My journey starts now.