Foster's fiction: Week 4 of National Novel Writing Month

Pile of books Ann-Marie has just four weeks to complete her literary masterpiece

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"Tell us a bit about your characters - your story," said the editor.

He probably did not hear my sharp intake of breath.

I am sure you have all seen those wildlife sequences on television where the filming team take their lives in their hands trying to get pictures of the baby cubs while the mother scowls in the background.

Well I am that momma when it comes to my characters.

They are mewling and crying; falling over each other as they play; making clumsy dashes for freedom and I am trying to watch their every move, keep them close, fearful of strangers stealing them away.

The tiniest glimpse, then.

The main character - a female - is proving my most troublesome creation.


I have never been charged with murder, for a start.

She is pushing the boundaries of my imagination as she battles through the plot, bouncing carelessly into the shadows where the cameras lie in wait.

She did not do it - she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But she was glad the killers turned up when they did.

She knows it probably would have been her lying there bloody, neck broken, if they had not.

I did not know I had the death penalty in me.

She moves away from her home town, charge hanging over her head, and tries to regain control of her life, abandoning her only friends.

Her behaviour mystifies them.

Like those younger cubs, they hesitate to follow, until she cajoles and bullies them into walking alongside her through the long grass.

Her behaviour mystifies me too.

I gave her life but in digging deep to do that, it turns me in on myself.

I get cross with her but I can't stop it. There will be no happy ending until we are both ready.

And I'm not even sure if there is a happy ending.

A redemption maybe, a resolution definitely.

There will be a price to pay.


There is always something lost along the path of new experience; usually a previously-held prospective on the world.

It is like those games of let's pretend that you last played when you were 10. Remember?

Cowboys and Indians or Dr Who and the cybermen?

For hours at a time you were completely absorbed with the fight between just and evil.

The street or your back garden disappeared as you thought yourself into the role.

Then you discovered that you wanted to triumph over the good guy, no matter what?

I have no-one to play with though and I'm taking all the parts.

There is no-one to break the spell just yet.

No-one to call me in for tea - it had better be worth it.

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