Once again, for what feels like the hundredth time this year, I am plotting out a book. Notebooks have been sullied with hideous, cryptic scrawl. Post-it notes have been assembled and plastered to the dining room wall like so much neon pink bat guano.

(Not that I’m suggesting you normally plaster your dining room walls with bat guano. I certainly don’t and I’ll hurl anyone who claims otherwise to the flock of specially trained housebats I definitely don’t have.)

I can’t plot for shit. Relatively speaking, it’s a weak point of mine. I get halfway through writing a book and only then realise I’ve actually missed the whole point of the damn story and I can’t remember what it was I was intending to do with most of what I have got.

I do it in speech, too.

In my later years, I’ve tended to plan more, because this means I make all my stupid plotting errors early on, before I’ve actually gotten 50,000 words into a novel. It saves a lot of time, but it does involve building up massive layers of post-it notes all over the walls. My record for a single book is a shade under 100, starting from the initial who/where notes, to the answers to the string of “why” and “how” and “what would be awesome here?” questions I ask myself as I go along.

Anyway, so it begins.