It’s really difficult explaining how I write my stories; I don’t have a plan, I don’t map them out, I don’t make lists of characters and places with descriptions on a set of file cards, I don’t do a story board or a spidergram, I don’t use rolls of wallpaper with coloured ribbons pinned across them, I don’t write an outline and work out the chapters and the sequences…

Ideas come, maybe a situation I’m in, or a sequence of events I observe, or a ‘what if’ occurs and I begin to play around with a story in my head and then at some point I plunge in and start writing. Maybe I plunge in too soon, and I put what I’ve written away and come back to it later.

An example of this is a dream I had, but I only remember a fragment of it, of a woman waking up in bed with a man she only met the previous night; he’s still asleep but he’s smiling. I mulled and pondered and fidgeted about with it and it began to develop into the story of a woman who’s been divorced a couple of years or so, with a daughter in her twenties and a son just starting at university. She’s had no boyfriends since her divorce until one evening, unexpectedly she suddenly finds herself with a man she barely knows… I wrote about thirty thousand words of it… the woman is a private tutor, her ex-husband is getting re-married, her daughter is a pain, there’s intrigue and mystery in her book club – among the members,not in the books they read! However… I ground to a halt with it, and it is tucked away and will be finished, maybe next year! I even have a title for it, ‘Dancing in the Road’.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching a series on TV and one of the people in it has a most interesting face; I don’t know anything about him, but his face intrigues me, he is so expressive… and I just know that sooner or later he is going to be in one of my stories. I don’t know whether he will be a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’, a hero or a villain… I’m thinking he’ll be a more complex character than he appears at first sight… you see I am imagining already! He will be a happy man… at the beginning at least, and will seem laid back and easy-going… but maybe that will change as the story progresses! Story? What story? I don’t have a story! I just have a face!

That is how my writing starts, in such a small way with just something or someone who catches my imagination… I still haven’t written the story about the two people in a pub, or was it a restaurant, or a café or an ice-cream parlour. They look like a father and daughter, but it’s only when the woman turns round it’s apparent she is a similar age but just very tiny, so she could be his wife, or his girlfriend, or his secret lover, or his blackmailer…

If you haven’t read any of my novels, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

3 thoughts on “Here we go…

  1. I write the same way. I tried the whole outline thing, but it was to restrictive. My “outlines” (if you can even call them that) happen as I write and as I get more ideas that take my story in different directions. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

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