Until very recently I was a member of a writers’ group. This was not an online forum but a real flesh-and-blood group. We’d meet in each others’ flats, talk intensely about our work for two hours, then go down the pub and talk even more intensely.
When, a few years ago, I started writing a book, friends would ask me what it was about. I’d say it was about a lot of things - a world where no one believes in anything, conspiracy theory, drugs, the lost dreams of the Sixties and Seventies - but that wasn’t what they wanted to hear. They wanted to know what the story was. In truth I didn’t have one. I thought I could write a novel based on ideas rather than character and story.