First post from Des Hunt – The start of a new novel

Sunrise at Wollongong - the start of a new day and a new novel

I’m thrilled to be selected as the November 2010 Star Author. Over the next month I’ll keep you posted about a new book I’m working on. I’ll take you through the research and planning stages and onto the first few chapters of writing. In a month I should be able to get about 10 of the 30 chapters written.

Every book I write always starts with an idea or a place. This one started with an idea. For some time I’ve been thinking of writing a story that has chemistry as a theme. I have a degree in chemistry and began my teaching career as a chemistry teacher. I know that many readers of this blog will find chemistry interesting: particularly things such as colour changes, poisons, stinks and explosions. When I visit schools I use several chemical reactions to illustrate the writing process. They are always popular and I thought that a novel with a chemistry theme could be interesting for me to write and for kids to read.

Next step is to dream up a situation.  If the idea was going to become a story, I needed to have characters who had the opportunity and desire to mess around with chemicals. I decided that a couple of boys who experimented with pipebombs could be exciting. It allows for the possibility of something going terribly wrong. They would have to be friends, but I know that stories become more interesting if there is conflict between characters. So I decided that friends that fell out with each other would create the chance for lots of conflict: imagine two kids arguing over an armed pipebomb and you’ll get an idea of the tension it could create.

When I was eleven I broke off with my best friend because we couldn’t agree with who would look after a frog that we’d found. It took three years before we made up. Breakups can be over the silliest of things, but often they are brought about by a change in the life of one of the friends. That’s the situation I chose: one of the boys’ parents would move town and that would strain the friendship. I decided to go a bit further and have the boy’s family shifting country, from Australia (Oz) to New Zealand (NZ). This allows for the boy shifting to NZ to experience many difficult situations in a new country. It also gives the opportunity for him to make a new friend. Thus when the Oz boy comes to visit we can have jealousy between the three – throw in some bombs and we could have an explosive mix.

All of this took about half a day to work through. I then had to sort out the locations: the first part in Oz and the second part in NZ. In line with my theme, I made the father of the family that shifts a chemical engineer. He works in a chemical factory in Oz before getting a better job in NZ. That restricted the places I could choose, because each would need to have a big chemical plant. I chose Wollongong in Oz and Glenbrook in NZ. The next step was to visit Wollongong in Australia. That’s one of the fun parts of writing – you get to travel to some interesting places. I’ll tell you about that in the next posting.

1 Response so far

  1. 1

    jacksccl said,

    Your new book sounds great Des. There are some very interesting ideas there. I hope they don’t blow themselves up! I’m also looking forward to hearing about your trip to Woollongong. It’s not an area of Australia I have ever thought of visiting.

Comment RSS

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: