…Six geese a-laying. If you are very very lucky and have worked very very hard, one of the six just might be the goose that lays the golden egg – a book which gets published and even goes on to be a bestseller. A Christian interpretation of A Partridge in a Pear Tree would have it that the six geese represent the six days of creation and creation is very much my theme for today. I’m interested in the genesis of a story – where people source their ideas and what they do with them; how the same starting point can result in so many varying fictional interpretations; whether ideas arise more or less fully-formed or have to be teased out over a period of time; how the finished product differs from the first thought; the knock-on effect of seemingly insignificant changes. I’m obsessed by the whole process. That’s why I keep a writing diary – it’s a record of all the ideas I have, when I have them, and what I go on to do with them. As well as an aide memoir it’s like a map to me, it tells me where I’m going, I’d be lost without it.

Writing fiction is such an idiosyncratic activity, there’s no prescriptive way of doing things: over a period of time you discover what works best for you. Some people plan ahead, others take inspiration as they go along, or depend upon a bit of both. Some writers use pin boards or post-it notes or index cards, but most of them record their ideas in some form or another, so if you don’t, it might be worth considering. In the end it doesn’t matter how you go about it, as long as the darned egg gets laid.