I'm at that stage with my current work-in-progress where I need to pull together fragments of a life into a story, from page one to The End. I ask myself: How would you tell this story if you were sitting in the pub, trying to entertain a friend?
Oh, too simple, another part of my brain says, and wants to get all analytical and tricksy.
Mulling on this dilemma I decided to clear the piles stacked on my desk. I was pleased to come across an article that I'd cut from The Guardian in January - Rachel Cusk on the teaching of creative writing.
My eye fell on a paragraph I’d marked:
“The natural grasp of form, structure, style and dialogue can be witnessed everywhere … The smallest child can tell the story of what he did that day, can work out how to make people laugh or how to make them anxious: by repeating his tale he can start to refine it based on the reactions he gets, learn to emphasise some parts and leave out others. The rules of writing are mostly indistinguishable from the rules of living, but this tends to be the last place people look …”
It was like finding a message in a bottle. Anyone free for a drink?