Monday, 8 March 2010


Last night (nothing interesting on telly) I got into a discussion with Ian, my husband, about how the important things in life often happen by chance. One different decision and your whole life could be totally different for ever! Thinking of this set us off on all the 'What if's...?' and we inevitably got round to, 'What if you or I hadn't done this or that? We'd never have met.'

In the early-seventies Ian was living on a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee and he decided to return to the UK. He didn't know whereabouts in the UK to choose so he closed his eyes and stuck a pin in a map. Leeds it was - and me he met. (It's a good job the pin didn't land in the middle of the North Sea!).

We almost met a few years earlier than we did. I answered an advert in the paper for a bedsit to let in a large house, not knowing that my future husband was living in the bedsit next door. I came along to view it. However, I decided instead to get a bedsit nearer a main road as I didn't fancy walking home alone at nights down a long, dark, lonely road. It was the time of the Yorkshire Ripper, and I couldn't afford taxis.

Anyway, what's all this to do with writing, you might ask. After all, this blog is supposed to be something to do with writing. Well, certainly in writing fiction we have to decide whether or not chance encounters seem realistic enough to include. Often not, I suppose, as life is definitely stranger than fiction (although Charlotte Bronte got away with some whopping coincidences). We do have to keep asking 'What if?' when writing, and this is a good basis for letting our imagination soar.

I don't do much forward planning before starting to write a novel. Maybe I should, but I don't. In my novel-in-progress I'm about to have a young woman closing her eyes and sticking a pin in a map to decide where to live. Now I wonder where the pin will land and what adventures will it lead her into?