Saturday 3 December 2016


I’m going to tell you one of the reasons I love writing.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin.

So I’m lying in bed and it’s Saturday morning. I don’t need to get up and do anything right this minute although there are quite a few things I do need to get done today which means turning over and going back to sleep isn’t really an option. Even though my body is still holding onto the relaxedness of semi-awakeness, my brain is turning things over and organising my day and making lists of things I haven’t done yet.

And then – suddenly – I realise that I know what’s supposed to happen in the book I’ve been planning off and on for the past six months. Honestly, that’s exactly how it happened. Almost like the plot was already there and I’d just remembered it.

You know it’s the right way to go when that happens.

And it doesn’t always. Often it’s just a slog, working from one plot point to the next. OK, I have to get this character into a hole and out of it, you think. But what’s the hole? Why does she go there? How does she get out? Who’s with her? Who pushed her down the hole? Is it a life-and-death hole or a break-your-ankle hole or the kind of hole that simply takes up time so that she misses out on something.

That kind of slogging through each plot point can work perfectly well.
But a moment of revelation is a perfectly wonderful thing.

Let me talk you through it.

What I had yesterday was a fairly thorough plan with some big holes in, particularly towards the end of the story, some of which was little more than an outline. I knew that the following things happened, but couldn’t see how they fitted together:
My main character had to undertake a series of tasks, as did the antagonist.
In one of the tasks, both of them were seeking (and found) an object which was old and precious for some reason.
The mc discovered that one of her supporters was secretly using her particular skills for an unknown aim.
The mc appeared to defeat the antagonist and the antagonist left, having successfully achieved all three tasks.
The mc achieved the final task but was cast out by all her friends.
The mc discovered that the antagonist was behind her troubles and worked out a way to defeat her.

So this morning, lying in bed, I worked out:
What the object was.
• That the antagonist worked out how to use it and how she went about it.
• What the mc’s supporter was secretly doing (and how it related to the object).
• How the antagonist’s use of the object caused the mc to be cast out.
• How the mc at first failed to defeat the antagonist but then succeeded by doing something unexpected.
• That it was possible to use the object for good as well as evil, a fact which I may be able to use in subsequent books.

A good morning’s work – and it isn’t even nine thirty yet.

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