I've got quite a strong idea now of what the two main characters will be like, and I'm finding it fairly easy to write things in their voices. The two pieces I've written are the first contact the reader will have with the characters, so they essentially serve the same purpose as the descriptions I set out earlier (obviously less explicitly). Little set-pieces like the letter, and the minutes (which I think can work as a thread running through the book), are fun, but I'm a little worried about writing long passages of bog-standard descriptive prose. Dialogue is fine - I've done this before for the stage - but descriptive text is something I will have to learn how to do. The whole public school setting is a little cliched, but this is I think justified to introduce the character quickly, and it really won't be dwelled on.
I'm already regretting the working title of Ages of Man, which doesn't really capture where I want to go. I don't think now that it will have much about one person growing up to be like another, which is something that I would like to explore in future, but I don't think this is the right outlet. I haven't a good alternative yet. They say you should think of the title first and write the rest later, because by the time the work is finished you stand no chance of changing the name. This is exactly what happened with Guilds, which at no point did we ever think was the perfect title, but we never came up with anything better, so it stuck.
I don't know yet where the book is going, whether it will be largely character-based humour, or possibly turn into a total farce a la Tom Sharpe. I've also got to figure out where the narrative voice sits, whether it will change to see the world in the same way as the main character in the scene, or whether there will be a fixed viewpoint.
Plenty to think about!