Friday, June 8, 2018

plots and plots !

                                                Can't see the woods for the trees.

I see from Stan’s’ post of yesterday that they got the book away (Hurrah) and it bounced back, as they always do. I bet it was an editor who invented the boomerang.
                                 Plot a bit thin on the bottom, in need of more backstory.

                                     Hoping that some good characters turn up!

And as we start out on a new book, here’s the thing. In the words of the song, ‘Where do I begin?’

                                        The debris of the best idea for a book ever
                                             Except it was deadwood.

                                      Using what you have to create something arty.

It’s bit like my garden, (said Caro so she could put some pics of her garden in the blog.)

                                       Don't think this structure is doing anything good at all.

I know there is a blueprint out there somewhere, but how do you get to where you’re are going if you don’t know where to  start. Even if you know where to finish.

                                           establishment of some parameters.
                                            a shrub, a wall, a path maybe?

Ten years ago, I bought the house of my dreams. Everybody in the village knows this house. It’s known as the ‘spooky house’ for many reasons. For a very long time, it was hidden by very thick ivy which, after nine years, I am still fighting to be rid of.
                                  a wee flicker of something that could be very good indeed.

                               and the beauty is in the detail.

The house  has always been haunted. I think it was owned by a man who may have spent longer in the company of her Majesty than he might have spent in the house. ( Let’s just leave that there!) And then it was owned by a loony.
                                A beautiful 'find' at the bottom of the garden.

                              the whole garden used to look like this.

A nice bloke but a loony.

                                    the process of clearing it out, so we can see the way it's going.

He allowed the grass the grow six feet high, the trees and the hedges were taller than the house, there was just ‘garden’ everywhere. It needed a scythe, nothing petrol driven would cope.
                                        finding the back wall!

                                       once out in the sun, i wrote 4000 good words!

That first summer, I employed a young healthy student person to set off and try to find the ‘end of the garden’. Or even the start. He found Lord Lucan, Shergar listening to Glen Miller live. He may have found the Amelia Earhart’s runway, any further than that and he might have come across the missing link and the cure for the stupidity.
                                        the garden equivalent of the writing desk

                             nine years after we started, still haven't got through this.

Up to date, in the here and now, I am supposed to be handing in a proposal for the next three books to my publisher. She calls it a proposal as the word ‘synopsis’ brings me out in a rash. I am 20 000 words in to another book in the current series. I know who did it and why. I have about five hundred words, the bare books of a plot and setting of the  book  after that in the series. Books 11 and 12.  There is talk of a standalone, and yeah – that’s about it. A standalone. It’s vague and eerie, floating around in my mind but I can’t really catch it and get the story to talk to me.

                                              a pretty find in the weeds

                                      cleaned, barked, planted and hedgehog house.

So where do you begin? I know the atmosphere, the setting and the Great Idea. It’s all the other bits that are missing.  Whose story is it? There’s no plan! No starting point.

                                       that path goes right through there...

                                         some rescued plants enjoying planter life.

 The weather here has been amazing. Sunny. 20 degrees in real money.  So I have been out mooching around the garden trying to find my way, both literally and literally. Doing the thing of physical effort and activity so that the subconscious mind nips off and writes the book for me.
                                         it gets worse before it gets better..

The garden itself is starting to speak to me, what needs to be where, and what needs cut back and what needs space to grow, what needs to come forth and what needs cut out completely. Over the years, we have uncovered a Victorian fountain in the front garden with a paved pathway going to it and round it. Once things were cut back, we found the beech was in fact a beech hedge which was over forty feet high and spindly, now cut back and back to resemble a hedge. It provides a nice perimeter to it all.  We have found raised beds built in perfect symmetry, two sets of steps we never knew we had. An electrical box, all rusty and broken that once controlled the gates and … a permanent BBQ with lights and a seating area!!! There are two Victorian marble seats on the wall at the bottom, one of the curved to fit round a long gone tree.
                                     the day of the triffids comes to mind.

                                     The muddle in the middle. We think this might have been a pond.

                                       really losing the way now....

The garden has revealed itself in bits here and there, and the rest I can join up to make sense.  Obviously, some of this is recent i.e. in the last thirty years, but the really good stuff  is probably original, dating back to the late 1800’s  and I wonder if  Agnes the poltergeist has been nudging us to get the garden sorted out.  And if the garden is telling me that the plot for the book will be fine, it will reveal itself to me. There is a rough outline somewhere, all I need to do is work out the details.

                                         a path cut to the cars!

But there will be a lot of digging and pulling out of weeds before the full story  is down on paper.

and the fountain, with the lights.
 it will be nice when it's finished. 

Caro Ramsay  08 06 2018 


  1. I love the garden so I'm sure I'll love the plot!

  2. Both, at the moment, are a voyage of discovery. And you will be able to meet Trump The Wonderhorse in September. Bet you can't wait!