As I mentioned on the very first day of this year, I have a naturally rather chaotic writing style. I don’t write my books chronologically, but rather I do a rough outline of the main plot turns and then write whatever scene or chapter grabs my interest when I sit down at the keyboard. This means that I can write all procedural stuff if I’m feeling detailed, or some dramatic stuff if I need livening up, but eventually the piper has to be paid and I need to start pinning it all together into a coherent whole. And I am rather scared to report that, for “Plank 3”, that day has come.
I sat down to write something on Sunday morning, and realised that I had reached the point where I couldn’t remember what I had already written. How did Conant’s daughter Lily meet that man, I wondered? I remembered writing about it, but not what I had actually written. So I had to bite the bullet. The way I tackled the problem was to re-read each chapter that I have written, and summarise it into three or four bullet points, which I then typed onto (virtual) Post-Its for pinning on the (virtual) cork-board that is part of the excellent writing program that I use (Scrivener). So each chapter now has its own Post-It, and I can move them around on the cork-board until they’re in an order that I like. “Plank 3”, like “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, has several plot strands, and I like to interleave them, so that you hear a bit about one then a bit about another. I figure that it’s more interesting (and testing!) that way, and indeed more indicative of the real way that police work is conducted – several investigations on the go at once.
So now I feel I have a much better grip on what still needs to be written for “Plank 3”. And thank goodness I did re-read it all; somehow I had managed to betroth the afore-mentioned Lily to two different men, and her magistrate father would have had plenty to say about that.