Last week, on Saturday 4th, I put aside all the pressing things I felt I had to do, got out a large felt-tipped pen and a pack of index cards, and sat at my kitchen table.  I had with me the rough notes I’d been scribbling for ‘the next big thing’.
                I took cards from the pack and scribbled steps in the story on them.  The first one I wrote reads, ‘Rich man talking to genetic engineers: wants clones for immortality.’
                After scribbling several more, I had a thought and wrote, ‘Is it only UK Pirate State that will allow this?’ – and put that card at the head of all the others.
                More scribbling and shuffling, and then, ‘Throughout, mention of UK as ‘pirate state.’ I placed that card on top of and overlapping several others.
Our winter arrived last week
                After a while, I took coloured pens and added coloured squares to the cards, to show how characters and incidents linked.  I invented some new characters and also some new twists that hadn’t occurred to me before.  In less than an hour, I felt I’d made progress, and things were clearer in my head.  So I already think this method of working out a plot – which I learned from Roz Morris’ Nail Your Novel – is a success.
                I shall leave the cards spread out on the table and return to them, shuffle them, add to them, and see what happens.
                LATER. While I was upstairs changing the bed, and other household chores, ideas came, out of the blue – ideas that would connect up right through the plot, from beginning to end.  So I went back down to the kitchen, wrote out more cards, and put them in place.
                Right!  Now for the Sterkarms.  I emailed my rough draft to my kindle, but wasn’t sure how  to manage the note-taking and mapping, as my kitchen table was covered with index cards.  Decided to use large tray on which I usually carry breakfast up to bed when my partner stays over.  That means the cards can stay on the table undisturbed, and I can do beat-sheet work on my sofa, with tray.
                LATER.  Am knocking off work at 8pm, but have reached chapter 8, having great fun writing in different colours for different characters and – as Roz Morris suggests – drawing little happy faces for happy parts and little shocked faces for shocking parts, and exclamation marks to show surprises.  Have drawn little red hearts for romantic bits.  Have already noted places where chapters should be divided into two, or joined together.  Am beginning to get head round the time sequence – a bit.  But so far am working with the fairly well worked first half of book.  Later on it’s going to be much harder.  But that’s for another day. 
          Tomorrow will have to answer emails, do admin for Authors Electric, cook and other boring things.  But the cards will still be spread out on my table, for shuffling; and it will all be mulling and brewing in my head.
          I'm glad to have made a start at last.