A month went by since I’ve received the amazing news that The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) awarded me the Literary Arts Individual Project Grant to finish my novel “Suicide Hotel”.
In my grant application, I promised I would share my writing process here on my homepage. This is part 01 if you will.
After digesting the news and my sheer excitement, I had to organize my files and documents and all my research material gathered over 11 years—when I jotted down the first idea to this novel.
In doing so, I decided to hang up the most important notes (approx. 50%) on one of my walls, so I can easily access details and ideas about different aspects of life in the year 2112 in Lethbridge.
11 years ago, I wasn’t even thinking of Lethbridge. We were living in Germany. The city I had earmarked for “Suicide Hotel” was Berlin.
Is Lethbridge the Canadian Berlin?
Maybe not at the first glance. Or the next 45 glances. But a commonality stuck out, Berlin has for its size a lot park areas, so does Lethbridge with the Old Man river slicing through it. This fact in combination with its spectacular geography and other notable features like the abandoned tunnel system under the city lead me to switch the location to Lethbridge.
As often in writing, the 1st choice is good, but obvious; the 2nd choice the right one for the story.
Of course Lethbridge would grow over the next 90 years, maybe bigger than Berlin or Calgary.
I also like challenges; and utilizing a cultural under-represented city instead of a well-established location (like Berlin, or Toronto, or New York) for a novel that wades knee deep in local colour but also has a huge international appeal at the same time, is a challenge I love to embrace.
Because I can easily lose myself in my writing I came up with a schedule to outline a rough timeline with own deadlines and to-dos. I will add to this as I go along, and I am curious how it will look in a year from now.
My research for a novel ends only with the novel. As I work on a story, my antennas are aligned with the subject matter, I still watch and listen and read about it, up to the very last day. This is the novel I am currently reading:
Last but not least I started writing! Here is my desk, not big, I know, but I count the wall as part of my desk, too.
Seldom I listen to music during writing: Bohren & der Club of Gore just fit. They are from Cologne, Germany, but I never saw them live (unfortunately), neither do I know them. It is dark and slow.
Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into my life.
For daily live updates, pics and short videos you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook under @thorstennesch.