After leaving ‘The Heir to Nothing’ unfinished for a month while I got on with other stuff ranging from short stories and Christmas letters to trying to get the sills on the Panda welded, an unexpectedly lengthy process, the Christmas break has at last meant I’ve had time to read through the story so far and see how much plot-wrangling is required before I carry on and finish it. The good news is that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was while I was writing it.

I did have a bit more of an outline for this one than I usually do for the Pitkirtly Mysteries, but that hasn’t stopped the thing from getting tied in knots somewhere in the middle, mostly because I was trying to work out how it fitted with the previous two novels in the series, which occupy the same timeline for some of the story. Writing this one was a bit like actually travelling back in time and trying not to meet myself and thereby disrupt the whole space-time continuum. Or have I just freaked myself out by watching ‘Doctor Who’ once too often?

I’ve spent this afternoon adding new chapter headings to remind myself to write a bit more in certain places, and moving large chunks of text about, especially towards the end. Moving chunks of text is quite a high risk strategy as the mouse-pad on my current laptop is quite erratic and sometimes decides to select a different chunk of text from the one I thought I had selected. There’s also the strong possibility of sabotage by cat, especially now that there are three cats, at least one of whom is very stubborn about settling down on the keyboard.

In my writing plan for 2020, planning ‘Pitkirtly XX’ is at the top of the list, but I’ve realised that I will have to get ‘The Heir to Nothing’ out of my head first, so I will probably try and get it into a better shape in the next week or two and then send it to have a printed copy made. Once that’s done, I might be able to leave the rest of the editing and publishing process for later. Or not, as the case may be. Rest assured, though, that I’ll at least be thinking about ‘Pitkirtly XX’ all the time. After all, this must be the year when it’s meant to be written!

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