Oh, hello

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I’m feeling a lot happier after posing the question ‘authors who write without a plan’to uncle Google. Seems as if it’s an accepted way of working and even if it wasn’t I don’t think I can work any other way. I’ve tried making chapter plans , thinking ahead – who’ll do what, where, when, but a mind-block always seems to appear suggesting I need to plan other things like car repairs, vet trips, earning a living . . .

It’s an odd way to work; a little scary, like walking a bit too close to a windy cliff edge just to see what’s down there. Often the path meanders into good terrain, fertile and exciting and equally often comes to a halt in front of a huge pile of literary manure from which I have to hastily back-track to find a different lane.

Characters I find equally difficult to pin down. Like the lady above, they often appear, semi-formed and reveal their true identities as I write. I have heard people say that you should work ever last thing out about a character before you introduce them into the story. A great idea except characters change and morph as I write, sometimes slightly, sometimes to almost take over the story, causing me to re-write and re-think – maybe a useful process in itself.

So, my planning: an early morning scramble to get words down, reflecting throughout the day, occasionally with a Eureka moment at some point and some hasty note-making followed by a re-cap early the following morning before the story moves on, slowly, speedily, sideways, backwards and (happily)mostly forwards.

 

Beginnings

ImageNearly two years ago while swimming, an idea appeared in my mind. This often happens, swimming being a languid spacy sort of activity where ideas do tend to present themselves. Most ideas re-submerg along with millions of others in the grey stuff, but this one stuck. I got out and started writing and haven’t stopped. It follows a now familiar pattern: 6.00 am — Me — ‘er . . .what.’ Mark — ‘tea? Me —’mm, yes, thanks,’. Light on, glasses on, screen on, tap, tap, tap for as long as possible before the daytime realities click in.

So . . . the idea. Four characters in London and their coincidental meetings: some that last, some that are momentary but reoccur in the second book. I am fascinated by such incidents, and how seemingly minute happenings can change the course of life, especially in the vastness of somewhere like London: a phone call taken before leaving the house, two minutes chat, a missed train — resulting in a conversation on the platform with someone who you would never otherwise have encountered.

When I was a child London was my world, and was again when I returned in the late 80s and 90s to be a photographic stylist. A world I loved and hated, and was eventually glad to escape from, first to the Midlands, then to France. I now return from time to time to revel in nostalgia, tramp my old haunts and weep as treasures are lost — no great monuments, mainly formica tabled, bench seated cafes . . .

My main four Characters, Holly, Jasper, Peter and Sandra are Londoners each seeking their ‘way out.’