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  • Writer's pictureA J McDine

So the plotting begins...


This week I started plotting my third domestic thriller, which has the (extremely unimaginative) working title of Book Three.

Plotting is, I have to admit, my least favourite part of writing fiction. I'm a discovery writer by nature and would far rather launch into a book with a vague idea of the beginning and the end and see where my characters took me.

But experience has shown me time and again that this is not an ideal modus operandi. I have painted myself into too many corners and plummeted into too many plot holes by diving in headfirst.

Having a roadmap of the story, knowing my characters' wants and needs, planning the progressive complications and plotting the false endings and the hero's journey makes the writing much less painful, and - hopefully - the book a far better read.

I was beginning to panic because I was all out of ideas. Then, while I was on a bike ride on Tuesday, a character and the vaguest idea for a plot popped into my head. Now I just have to build that vague idea into an 80,000 word story. Simples!

(If only!!)

One author who absolutely nails dark and twisty plots is Sabine Durrant, and I loved her latest release, Finders, Keepers.

It's one of those deliciously dark novels that stays with you a long time after you’ve finished reading.

The story centres around the friendship between Verity Baxter and her new neighbour, Ailsa Tilson.

Verity is a fifty-something woman who has lived alone, with just her dog Maudie for company, since her mother’s death and her sister Faith left the family home.

Upwardly-mobile Ailsa, her husband Tom and their three children have bought the house next door as a doer-upper.

Verity is fascinated by Ailsa and her family, and begins to inveigle her way into their lives, just as the weeds in her overgrown garden creep through the fence into the Tilson’s immaculate garden next door.

Verity is the original unreliable narrator – she admits as much early on in the book – so we know from the get-go that the story has been given her own unique spin.

And as Verity gradually shares her secrets with us, so Durrant reveals the twisty narrative. A clue here, an inkling there, until everyone’s secrets – however dark and disturbing - are revealed.

Finders, Keepers has been described by some reviewers as a slow burn, and I wouldn’t argue with that. It’s a fitting metaphor, as the story smoulders with tension until the end when the fire catches hold and the storyline grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let you go.

It was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me!

Talking about neatly plotted endings (!!), I wanted to remind you about the bonus scene for Should Have Known Better.

I wrote the scene for everyone who joins my readers' club. If you'd like to join and download your free copy just click on this link.

It reveals what happens next for Kate and Chloe. So don't read it if you haven't read the book yet as it contains major spoilers!

Finally, don't forget that my first thriller, When She Finds You, is still just 99p/99c to buy at the moment.

AND both When She Finds You and Should Have Known Better are completely free to read with Kindle Unlimited.

If you'd like to check them out just click on these links:

That's all from me for now. 

Happy reading,


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