I had a really pleasant surprise when I looked at my Twitter feed yesterday and noticed the word ‘Pitkirtly’ lurking in among all the politics and name-calling. I don’t mind getting into an argument about politics on occasion, in fact as I worked on the family history book I’ve been writing this month while I wait for real life to be normal enough to write about again, I fondly recalled a furious political argument I had with my then best friend on the concourse at Münster station in about 1964. But what’s happening at the moment isn’t exactly politics and is beyond logical argument, particularly on Twitter.
Anyway, what I found was that someone had tweeted a link to a whole blog post they’d written about the Pitkirtly novels, and I thought it showed such good insight that I should share it here: https://ramblinggit.com/2020/07/16/read-the-pitkirtly.html
This was particularly exciting because I’m in the early stages of mulling over some ideas for Pitkirtly XXI. At this point I only have a vague idea for a possible scenario as well as a sort of side puzzle which of course is fairly likely to expand and take over the whole storyline. There are various reasons for not jumping straight in and starting to write. The most compelling one is that I don’t want to ignore Covid-19 but I don’t want to wallow in it either. What I need to do is to try and write about a time when things are ‘normal’ enough not to get in the way of a story that isn’t actually about the pandemic. But there may still be mention of masks, social distancing etc. I am happy to have my series set in Scotland because we are fortunate enough at present to have a more stable situation here than is the case elsewhere, but I know that could quite easily change. In March and April when I was writing Pitkirtly XX, the behaviour of my characters really worried me. How could they just get on a bus or go down to the Queen of Scots without thinking anything of it? I wanted to tell them not to go into each other’s houses, not to stand so close to each other… It made finishing the book very difficult, and I don’t want that to happen again.
Another reason for not jumping in at the deep end is that (at last!) I’ve stumbled on a way of planning my writing without stifling it, and I want to see if I can apply it to the Pitkirtly series. I almost think my motto, if it wasn’t ‘Creative minds are rarely tidy’ – my brother once gave me a sign to hang up with these words on it – would be ‘You’re never too old to learn’. My 34 day streak on Duolingo is further proof of that!