January: 15 beats and a New Story has begun

Save The Cat! Wites A Novel. The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need

January – arguably the longest month of the year – is done.

So, I’m very pleased that I managed to buckle down to producing my next novel.

Firstly, using the text: Save The Cat Writes a Novel, I designed my 15 beat storyline. (Huge thanks to Kate of katefranciswrites ) for recommending this gem.

Boy was it hard in parts. Creating my main character, my hero and giving the poor woman oodles of flaws felt quite cruel but it had to be done!

15 Beats

Then came the 15 beats and what struck me here was that things are bad, then disaster strikes, then things might seem to be going well but they are not, then things get really bad and so on. It is quite an exhausting process with a lot of surely nots? exclaimed as I start the next beat. But, dear reader, I have to report it was well worth it in the end as I am sure I have the makings of a fabulous story. Just got to write it now!
But no! This is a story about a farming family and guess what: I don’t know anything about farming.

Hee hee, I hear you laugh.


Hence, I’m glued to the internet, Google, YouTube and Farmers Weekly becomes my bestest friend. I’m listening to Farming Today on Radio 4. I’m going slightly gah gah but carry on regardless. Then I discover Fen Farm Dairy – what a wonderful outfit – in fact I have already enjoyed their Bungay Raw Butter and Skyr Icelandic style yoghurt – delicious! – and have a Zoom session with Jonny who tells me all about Dairy farming. Brilliant stuff! I shall be visiting the farm at milking time – what a hoot – so more about that later.

Sunshine – good for the soul

We were blessed with nearly our full quota of sunshine with 44.7 hours, apparently this is 95% of the average for January. So, wrapped up and with a thermal layer, the odd walk was greatly appreciated and lifted the spirits.

Community Spirit – warms your heart

You might be interested to know, I have discovered the coldest place in the world: The Bildeston Food Bank. I’m not sure why we’ve got a freezer. I was getting together a food parcel the other day, wishing I had thermal gloves on, and when I left and walked outside, it was like walking into a sauna!

But seriously, although the actual bank is cold, the people involved and the work we are doing couldn’t be any more warm hearted. I am so pleased to be part of this wonderful organisation and to be able to help families who are struggling through this pandemic.

The community spirit shown during this crisis is amazing. Whilst the government blunders its way through it, awarding contracts to its mates, the people volunteer and take action to make lives a little bit better.

Overall, I consider my January to be a success and given everything we are having to put up with that’s quite an achievement.

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