Yes, the magic desk on the fifth floor of the North Front of the University Library here in Cambridge is certainly my lucky writing venue. I settled there this morning, with my first draft printed out, and completed the editing that I started yesterday. (Before you get too excited, there will of course be several more edits, but it is exciting to see all those words printed out for the first time.) I had with me only the draft, a red pen and a £5 note for elevenses – minimal distractions, you see.
Mid-morning I went down to the tea-room. Laid out was a tempting display of plain scones and fruit scones, with a sign alongside saying “Plain/fruit scones £1.20, cheese scones £1.30”. Now I am very partial to a cheese scone, so I asked for one. “We don’t have cheese scones today because the kitchen is being refitted and we don’t have an oven,” said the tea lady. Which did make me wonder how they cooked all the plain and fruit ones… But I made do with a cheerfully bright slice of Battenburg instead.
I then returned to the desk on NF5. And I don’t know if it was the inspiring view of King’s Chapel, or the sound of birds under the eaves, or indeed the sugar rush from the Battenburg, but it came to me: the plot twist I had been seeking. And verily it was good. So it’s a bit back to the drawing board now for the last three chapters, but no matter: that’s what tomorrow is for.