I find plot hard to come by.

Luckily, in the beginning stages of writing a novel, plot it not essential. I do know that a lot of novelists, like my opponent for instance, like to plot  and plan their stories in advance – so that before they start writing they know (in the main) how and when things will happen in their stories, and how one thing will lead onto another and so on.

This, I really cannot do.

I am quite lucky in that I have never struggled to find ideas and inspiration for stories. The central idea for StairJumpers came to me very easily, without me even thinking about writing a story. So the initial premise was set very early on, and the main characters sketched out, but other than that I did not know where the story (or the plot) was going to go.

I still don’t. I have no idea how my story will end, and no idea how it is going to get there (wherever “there” is…)

Currently, Sam (my main character) is standing in a snow-covered graveyard with his older brother Ollie, and Ollie’s friends, in the early hours of the morning. Around them, I can feel ghosts watching them.

Note: I can feel ghosts watching them. I haven’t written about the ghosts. And I’m not even sure I’m going to. Y’see… if I write about the ghosts, my plot is going to go one way. But then, where will it go from there? I don’t know! I’m not even sure if I want it to go that way.

Besides the ghosts, I have several other plot ideas that are trying to form themselves into some cohesive form in my head. At the minute they are lurking just out of view and just out of mind, like the ghosts themselves, waiting to see whether I will turn and look at them, and make them real. None of the ideas that I have, for where to take my story next, are very fully realised. So, I am scared that if I start down one of these paths, and take my story in that direction, that I will write my way into a dead end – that I will write my way into a story I don’t like or to a place that I can’t write my way out of.

This all comes from not planning, of course. But, like I wrote earlier, I find planning a story (beyond initial brainstorms and ideas) to be nigh on impossible.

So, what can I do about this? Simple really: I just have to keep writing. If I let the fear of the unknown get the better of me, I’ll carry on stressing over which direction to take my novel, instead of writing the damn thing, and I’ll never get anywhere. Instead, if I just sit on my arse and WRITE  (which is by far the best single piece of advice I’ve heard to any aspiring author) then my story will take on its own shape. If I trust in my characters, and in my own skill as a writer, plot will (or should) begin to happen naturally. I know the kind of things that I want to include in my story, and the kind of story I want it to be.

I can feel the ghosts, and the plot, closing in. I just have to look at them, not be afraid, and figure out which of them are real.