I’m sitting in my little shed with a hot water bottle on my knee wrapped in a blanket and very toasty it is too.

We are shrouded in snow where I live and when I inched my way down our hill to forage for supplies I was struck by the atmosphere – it’s amazing what a bit of disruption can do. People were shovelling the pavements clear, talking to each other, throwing snowballs, helping to push stranded cars, all very different from your average Friday in these parts.

I think there is – wait for it – a creative writing lesson here. It can be extremely beneficial to disrupt your story from time to time, so why not play the narrative wild card and have a protagonist die or be unmasked; or you could turn received wisdom on its head; or perhaps engineer a plot catastrophe? Anything that gives the status quo a good shake-up. You will find that this makes your characters respond differently to one another and your reader respond differently to your novel. If your prose is deep and crisp and even for too much of the time it could have a muffling effect, just like the snow outside my window…
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…so don’t be afraid to put the cat among the pigeons.