A few weeks ago writer Sophie Weston gave a workshop to the London Chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association. I'd have loved to be there, but I'd already used up my London allowance, so couldn't make it. But like all good things, people who were there talked about it on social media. And one of the points that came out of it was the idea of plotting with dialogue. Just a few words that kick off the plot, or turn it in a new direction. And that struck a chord, as that often happens to me. I can hear a line or two, and then the whole book sort of unfolds itself. I have no idea where the dialogue comes from - well, I suppose it's from my subconscious, but I hear the words as if someone is saying them.
There are two lines from the new book that did that. Actually, when it started it was two books, and I didn't know that they were going to combine themselves, but somehow that happened too.
The first line was supposed to be the first line of Book A and it was 'I have to have a husband by this time tomorrow.' I can still hear Cassie, my heroine, saying it that way. It's a strange start to a contemporary - something that sounds like it might belong in an historical. In the final article it isn't actually the first line, as Cassie strides into her office before saying it, and it now reads 'I have to have a husband by tomorrow morning.' because I realised that 'this time tomorrow', although it sounds more dramatic, would be too late, as by then she and Jake will be well on their way to London to get on with the plot. Jake is the hero, as you might have guessed. And practically the whole of the plot came from that single line.
The other line, which was from an exchange that didn't have a Book B to go with it, was 'Don't just stand there, take your clothes off.' Somehow that scene got incorporated into Cassie and Jake's story. She says it to him, by the way and it sets the tone for their relationship through the rest of the book. And I had so much fun writing the scene that went with it. All the scenes, actually, even the sad ones.
The book was one of those where large chunks just flowed onto the page.
And it all came from hearing a few lines of dialogue in my head.