One of the hardest parts of writing in my experience is plotting the novel. Of course I have the kernel of the story - what it's all about, so to speak. But how to take the reader there, how to incorporate interesting byways that my reader will like to follow, that is the main problem.
I am currently mulling over the third novel in my Sergeant Alan Murray Mystery series which I write under my pen name P.B. Barry. Murray was originally in a once-off story, Death in a Lonely Place. Everyone who read the book liked him so much that I got a lot of calls to write a sequel. 'I feel so safe with him', said one of my readers, which is surely one of the nicest compliments I have ever received because it demonstrated that she was totally immersed in the story. Another reader wanted to know if Murray would ever find out what happened to his wife Sheila who disappeared on Ardnabrone mountain many years before.
So I started mulling over what else could happen among the lonely Kerry mountains and came up with Ending in Death. The riddle of what happened to Sheila is not solved in this story but it has been buzzing around in my head like a bee trapped inside a window. So I am now working on the plot of what will most likely be the final in the Sergeant Alan Murray Mystery series. It is hard work, let me tell you. I love the actual writing, it is the discipline of getting the plot right that I find so difficult.
So I'm spending my time noting down names, places, back stories and sub-plots. Which reminds me, I must get back to work!