This morning at 9.45 I began writing "Clayhanger". I felt less nervous and self-conscious than usual in beginning a book. And never before have I made one-quarter so many preliminary notes and investigations. I went out for a little recess, and at 1.30 I had done 1,000 words, which was very good for a first day.
We went down to the Aquarium after tea, and heard mediocre music, and saw first-rate fishes, etc., living long under highly artificial conditions.
The seals and alligators seemed to be intensely bored and sick of life, but perhaps they weren't.
Earlier in the afternoon I went out and viewed the shore, and the launching of fishing boats. All kinds of activity in progress, spoiling to be described. But now that I am on my novel I am tied up again for six months from anything really swagger in the way of description.
Weather misty. No visible round trace of the sun. The hotel is haunted by barrel organs. In fact in various ways Brighton seems to be what London was. Its architecture is old Belgravia and Tyburnian.
I continued reading aloud from "The Old Wives Tale" last evening. I was struck by how much detail there is. On the one hand, the reader is drawn deeply into the home of the Baines's but on the other, I had a sense that some editing would have helped the story go forward without losing the sense of place. I am not so sure about the success of Samuel Povey as a character at this stage. Constance and Sophia are real, tangible creatures; Sam seems still two-dimensional. I know that his character is fleshed out successfully later, but at this stage the reader would probably not expect that he would have a major role in the remainder of the book.