Beginning my third

In Orkney on holiday and beginning my third novel. Don’t have a working title yet, but reading out the opening lines to the family results in howls of laughter and ‘Mum, you can’t write that!’. To paraphrase Stephen King, If you intend to write truthfully, your days as a polite member of society are numbered. Or as someone else said, ‘If there is a writer in the family there is a traitor in the family’. 


My dear friend Dr Gillian Boughton-Willmore has recently been at a literary conference, where apparently the buzz word was prolepsis. A classic example is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier where in the opening chapter we are shown the characters at the very end of their story. Another example is The Dark of Summer by Eric Linklater (one of my favourite novels and greatly undervalued I think), where once again we are given the final scene of what turns out to be an extraordinary journey for the protagonist. Gillian explained to me that using prolepsis gives the reader the sense that they are in the hands of an author who is in control of their material from beginning to end. 

The result has been that I have decided to intersperse the chapters in the novel I am working on with short scenes that take place in the future, all from the point of view of another character. I have no idea whether this is an improvement, but it has been fun to do! 

Zoom Writing Workshop

As part of the Festival of Advent in our church I have just taught a writing workshop with a great group of people, via Zoom of course. It made me realise how much I have missed interacting with other writers. With a small prompt from me, we listened to each other’s extemporaneous scribblings, and in just ninety minutes, we were taken to make-believe worlds with fascinating characters and intriguing stories. Wonderful! 

A meeting in Bath

Met Suzannah Dunn in Bath for lunch. What a privilege to spend time with someone who is so ready to help me on my writing journey. Mostly I have learned that the small intimate details are what build a story and a character. Also, go easy on the melodrama! And finally, be careful of cliché, as in the old wise woman who offers pearls of wisdom when the protagonist needs reassurance and insight.