With my small sheaf of A4 sheets with scrawled notes and my concertina paper laid out on my desk, I began to sketch out the preliminary plotline of the book.
As with previous screenplay plotting I envisage the story having 3 acts – in classic fashion. Act 1 is always the most difficult to get right; although I see the ‘situation’ clearly – London family transported to a totally different environment – there is a great deal to be set down in the matter of the various plotpoints and the secondary and extraneous characters to be introduced and explained.
Whilst the 5 family members – so far unnamed – are present in most scenes in Act 1 and can be introduced gradually, the minor characters are speedily introduced; at the same time the plot has to be pushed along when the 6th major character, the (as yet also unnamed) dog, is revealed towards the conclusion of Act 1.
As I wrote out each plot point in Act 1 I started to envisage each of the major characters in visual and verbal terms.