Funny how time can distort your memory. Yet I remember this trip like it happened yesterday. It was just 5 days before my birthday in 2013. I'd decided it was time to take my writing seriously and I was keen to research the setting for the story.
Now at this point I should probably share how my story idea came to me. About 6 months previous to this trip I was rudely awaken from a fascinating dream. It was set in Egypt and I was about 75% of the way through it when my well meaning husband woke me with a cup of coffee. Normally that would be a great morning but I wanted to know what happened, how the story ended. So it seemed the idea for my story was delivered into my sleeping head - gift wrapped with a big bow on it.
Like a sculptor,I had the block of stone, I knew what the end item should look like and now I just had to chip away the stone to reveal the core of the item. I was living full time in Egypt in 2013, and had been for about 13 years, so I decided to revisit some of the sites in which the story would unfold.
Sakkara was my first trip. I dragged my poor driver off early one morning, to miss the heat of the midday sun, and we toured the Sakkara complex. We were hounded by the guides and monument guards who didn't realise I spoke some Arabic. We pretended I didn't, so Hassan, my driver, could take their attention leaving me to take my photos and make notes.
I'm slow but not a sloth
I couldn't have imagined then that it would take me until the middle of 2018 to finally get the story down onto paper. I'm a slow writer for sure, but not that slow. Life had other plans for me throwing many obstacles and hurdles in my way. I became very unwell repeatedly and moved from Cairo to Dubai, and from Dubai back to the UK. Life just got in the way.
I didn't touch the manuscript for a couple of years but the story never left me.
This year I've finally been able to come back to it and now I can see the end. I've carved most of the stone away, the image is revealed and just needs some finessing.
I'm writing the final four chapters in which the entire story comes together and finally the reader understands the subplots, the twists and turns of the previous 43 chapters and scenes. Today I wrote with tears pouring down my cheeks as I said goodbye to some of my darlings - for that is what the characters have become. I know their every nuance. What drives them to do what they do. Their character flaws and their amazing personalities. They've been mine, and mine alone, and soon I have to say goodbye and let them make their way in the world. I find I'm strangely protective.
So I have around 17,000 words left until the dream finally ends and the story is told. It's been the longest dream I've ever had. 6 years is a long time to dream. But oh what a dream it's been.
So when the dream ends...
What happens next? Well for House of Scarabs, it will be a detailed editing process and then publication.
Now I have a new baby to nurture. Genesis, the prequel to House of Scarabs. I've outlined the story, written the first chapter and I'm super excited to get to it. It's a short novella so I hope this time the creation process takes a little less time.