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Look No Plot!

Many writing workshops concentrate on plotting as the key to a well-structured novel but for me it’s the death of creativity. I’m in good company. Stephen King says in On Writing: “I distrust plot for two reasons: first because our lives are largely plotless … and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.” In The French Lieutenants’s Woman John Fowles abandons the story to tell the reader that his characters have minds of their own: “It’s only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they start to live.” The First Lie began as one sentence with no character profiles and no plan. Writing it has been an act of daily discovery, where the unexpected has breathed life into the developing story, leading inexorably to the final unknowable scene.