Hatching a plot


It’s a magical experience when a new story calls you with such power, that you sit down to plot it out and 5 hrs later, it’s totally finished – neat as a pin, clear, concise, flowing like a horse’s tail and ready to write!

For me, it is often like a jigsaw, random chapters appear, usually unlinked and my job in the end is to try to make all the bits fit into a whole. In this particular case, I’d been struggling and felt that I may never find the whole – annoying!  I had the world I wanted to be in. I’d been playing around with a cast of main characters for a couple of months, all highly individualistic with unusual lifestyles and unique backgrounds, as well as a variety of supporting characters who would also play a strong role in the world I had created.  The location was there along with the theme but what was missing was the tone, a good solid protagonist – never that hard to create – and the story line.  I can’t write a story if I can’t find the right tone.  And it seems that I can’t get a story line if I can’t get the tone right!

For some time, I’d experimented writing it with high comedy, farce, satire and more, but none of it felt right for the female lead I had created. Then a couple of days ago, I suddenly realised that I wanted dark, very dark, so dark that it might not fly and wondered if that could work with the people I’d created as it was a complete depart. I sat down to write a few paras to see how it felt.  Before I knew it, I had my first chapter, an inciting incident, and an ending.  But, there were a couple of central pieces of the jigsaw that were missing – the plot line and the protagonist.  I wondered how I’d find them, as if they were both lurking deep in my subconscious and I was just waiting for it to emerge by some random action of unexpected words or thoughts.  Oddly, a day later, while chatting to a friend who asked me an unrelated question, my mind took off on a tangent and I suddenly had a bunch of black-hearted villains appear unannounced who tied the whole thing together and the jigsaw miraculously took shape and I had a story line.   How weird is that?!



Peter Temple – An Iconic Wtier

My fav writer – a real light bulb moment when I read his first crime novel which was his first Jack Irish novel Bad Debts…amazing characterisation, vivid location, incredible dialogue and such sharp derisive Aussie humour I was awestruck … Australian writing has been immeasurably improved and altered for his contribution.

If you have not read one of his books, I would suggest you do so asap. The Broken Shore is a great place to start or the Jack Irish mysteries which are set in the dodgy world of horse racing, or the lesser known novel, An Iron Rose, which is another standout for me.

Thank you Peter Temple for your work, my reading life changed from that first paragraph in Bad Debts…