Sometimes a story comes fully formed. Sometimes I am presented with a character who will tell their story whether I plan to or not. And sometimes there is a glimpse of an idea which will gradually, gradually find its form.
For me these are the hardest stories to write.
I sit down. I stare at the screen. I write an opening sentence. I delete. I re-write. I force myself to write the first paragraph, then the second and…stop.
I know by now how the story will unfold. That is the most frustrating part of the whole process, because I cannot get it down on paper, or rather onto the screen.
In these circumstances I find the only thing to do is to get up and leave my computer. I find something else to do. I make the bed, dust the living room, wash a floor and half way through the task the next sentence comes and I have to rush upstairs to put it down.
Particularly fruitful is watching TV. However absorbing the programme the story insists on making itself heard and I know that I have to keep pen and paper to hand to write down whatever comes into my mind, which will most likely be the link to the next part of the story.
A story written like this takes days. Whether it I am stalking it, or it is stalking me, I cannot be sure. All I know is that we circle each other, make small feints out of cover and gradually, gradually build enough trust to be laid open for others to read.