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I’m an Aquarian – I love a plan. And it is this: after some thought & a number of steely glares from that there Janey Stevens, I’m committing to the book that’s been abandoned so many times it’s now in therapy.

At midwinter, at our last writing group of the year, Janey asked me what was stopping me writing the book that has, for several years, affectionately been known as RiverBook. She was having none of my, ‘Well, there’s this other story & it won’t leave me be…’ nonsense. Conscientious writing partner that she is, she challenged me to look at why I was prevaricating.

In the end, it was simple – it was the beginning.

I’ve changed the trajectory of this story many times, abandoned great swathes of it: plot lines, format & so forth. Introduced a new & relevant character. And simplified it. What I hadn’t done was pay attention to the beginning. I thought I knew where this story began but I’d missed an important trick.

Magic notwithstanding (if you hang with witch women who write, expect spells, dear reader) I’ve learned many valuable lessons since I began this writing lark. Not least from my mentor & my editor. One is to know the provenance of my stories – the root of them if you like. Most of mine offer some sort of nod to legend or fairytale. RiverBook is no exception. In it, I’ve played with the old selkie tale & given it a different slant. I like my version & that aspect – the essence of the story – has never been in dispute.

Once I knew (what I’d always known because we do – we just need a nudge from a friend) it was easy. Begin at the actual beginning. And why would I abandon over 80k anyway? You only do that if the story has no legs. This one can swim… And that’s where I must begin: in the water…

Now I have it, that’s my plan. Finish RiverBook & call it by the name I conjured some time ago: Underwater the Stars Shine Brighter. It’s a bit of a mouthful so I may opt for an acronym… A hashtag even. #UTSSB – go me.