I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 6 May 2013

You've read 'em. Try plotting one

Large gaps open up in the working day; I waste time listing requests for the gardener. I'm definitely at a loose end. Blest Redeemer is probably on Joe's Kindle by now. Time to challenge the ageing process and start a new novel
As I walk to Tesco for The Guardian a plot starts to form round the physical details of a woman I knew glancingly in the 1950s. Barbara, late twenties, hard, angular face, hair like corn-silk constantly sliding out of place, complexion the colour of old ivory. Thin not slender, impatient, slightly snappish. Future seems assured and desirable.
In the long, continuous-time first chapter something horrible happens (Not rape!) and her almost-achieved plans for future are wrecked. Instead her employment will be at a lower, non-professional level in society and it is this I want to write about. She'll need to change.
My mind drifts back in time. Could unlikeable X, suitably modified, be at the heart of this violent upheaval in Barbara's life?
But… characters should recur, as aids to telling the rest of the story. X must live beyond the first chapter’s beastliness. And then evolve. Big, serious, inner question: can I imagine an “improved” X? Wow! Plot starts to balloon.
Location: London (too easy), Bradford (just done), Wales (can't pronounce place names), rural Wiltshire (possible; it's a countryside I respond to), Germany (no more foreign languages), USA (just possible, would be a struggle).
No-nos. No more music, poetry, book reading (all encourage lazy plotting). No more kids or elderlies (to avoid ruts).
Incidentals. Barbara leisure paints? (Time I took on painting.) Sculpts wood? (Better still.). A chronic ailment, more glamorous than back pain, more serious than tinnitus. Sex: coloured by her impatience.


  1. Don't take Bradford as a comprehensive summary of The North. What about the Yorkshire Dales - Skipton, Harrogate, the Yorkshire coast, or even The Lake District.

  2. Sir Hugh: Sounds like pages torn from a holiday brochure. Very resort-ish, virtually dead from a literary point of view, nobody does anything interesting. Bradford was rich in resources: here's some of them: Arnold Laver's timber works, St George's hall, a muslim lad attending Belle Vue school, a derelict Wesleyan Reform chapel, a back-to-back house, the mini shops out along Leeds Road, the car park between the Vic and the railway station, the choral singing tradition, a Punjabi probation officer, etc, etc.

    Just reflect. Why would people want to live in the places you list? Because they're tranquil. What good's tranquillity to me?

  3. I didn't know the Redeemer was on the way. I'll keep looking.