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Putting the pieces together…

This week has been really enjoyable for me as a writer. As a human being trying to negotiate the real-world problems of moving from one continent to another during an apocalypse, the week has been beyond stressful but as a writer... it’s been great.

We all know that starting something can be the hardest part of any writing. The thought and sight of that blank, white screen is intimidating to say the least, but once you get going, once you get the idea or the spark, then it’s not long before the page isn’t empty any more and the story starts to take shape.

I’ve enjoyed re-visiting briefs from previous years and previous challenges and looking at them with a fresh eye. What seemed frustrating or difficult in previous years might take a whole new direction now and leave me feeling faintly smug.

I have to admit that anything poetic is my Achilles heel, but it was fun to work with verse and prose to give a different voice to a story; and the trilogy was a great chance to take an idea – or ideas – and weave them together into something larger. I’ve even managed to re-visit three of my favourite characters from the last 28 Plays Later and write them their own short story. Expanding and adding to something already written gives me the feeling that some characters will keep demanding their moment in the sun, which I’m happy to provide. And then, of course, there’s the interesting brief where you have to try and make your sentences as long a possible whilst being aware that they have to make sense and move the story along but not be so long that you run out of breath before you get to the very end of them, which is always an interesting writing exercise and something that can become a bit addictive if you’re not careful but I don’t think that would happen to any of us… would it?

Like a lot of people during this lockdown, I’ve taken to doing jigsaw puzzles to pass the time and it occurs to me that doing a jigsaw is a lot like writing in some ways. Your brain is in free-flow mode, trying out different pieces to see if they make the whole picture clearer. You’re following the pattern to its conclusion and looking forward to the satisfaction of finally sitting back and seeing it complete in front of you.

Today it could be something artistic and flowing, but who knows, perhaps tomorrow it will be something fun and silly with elephants, we get to complete a different jigsaw every day.

I hope wherever this week has taken you (physically or mentally) and whatever you’ve written has been fun, challenging, interesting or whatever you need it to be. Whether it’s dark, light, comic, tragic, emotionally epic or outright silly I wish you nothing but joy with your story ‘jigsaw’…

And remember to always start with the corners!

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