The Journey

Here where I am in the south west, the winds have died down, the rain is intermittent, the sun is warm (when it can break through the clouds) yet the wind is icy. And the story that is dancing in my brain is full of sunshine and cooling breezes, leisurely travel by horse-drawn wagon, and a cat with a mind of its own. Naturally.

The path
I see the end of the story but I don’t yet see the journey. At least, I see one journey. It’s a safe journey with:

·         A perfectly maintained road
·         Pleasant roadside inns with an abundance of food, drink, music, and good company
·         Clear skies and idyllic weather—the rain only comes at night when our friends are safely tucked up in that pleasant roadside inn
·         Wayside stops always supplied with fresh provisions
·         Water available when needed
·         Friends or soon-to-be-friends in every village
·         Travellers well met along the way.

The cat

But … the ending has no punch. There is no reason for cat or companion to be any different at the end of the journey than at the beginning. And the cat in particular finds that unacceptable. Perhaps he is responsible for the alternate journey:

·         Necessity forces them to travel ill-kept minor roads that cause problems for horse or wagon … or both
·         They reach a village but rather than finding friends, they are hounded out without a chance to refill the water cask or buy food for the horse
·         In the town the clean, respectable and, more importantly, safe inn costs more than they can afford; and the inn they can afford doesn’t allow cats.
·         The rain pours down on them as they take their leave
·         Those not-friends from the unfriendly village have betrayed them to their pursuers
·         Their road leads to the edge of the cliff where a wooden bridge is all but disintegrated and they must backtrack and hope to avoid those who seek them or else risk the treacherous bridge
·         If they dare the bridge, the horse and wagon must be left behind

But … well. you’ll have to wait until I’ve written the story to find out what the cat did.

I’ve learned over the years of writing—and even more so in the years of editing—that the journey from A to B can be pleasant but, at the end, somewhat unsatisfying. Throw in a few diversions to C, K, F and M, and then finally reaching B becomes so much more rewarding—for the characters, for the reader and, yes, for the writer too.

Adrianne Fitzpatrick has more than 25 years’ experience in the publishing industry as a writer (for adults and children), editor, teacher (of writing and editing), photographer, book designer and bookseller (both new and secondhand books). She has had numerous short stories and articles published; and her second novel, The Chalet School Annexe, was published by Girls Gone By Publishers in 2018. Adrianne has worked with many authors to see their dreams of publication come true, so it’s not surprising that she has started her own publishing house, Books to Treasure, specialising in books for children.


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