There I was on a restful weekend by the sea; enjoying coffee and croissant in a quaint little cafe at the end of the North Shore pier.
Looking outside through a musty rain smattered window my gaze was attracted to the contours of the magnificent edifice that is Blackpool Tower; drinking in the lines of the intricate steel framework that leads to the observation deck, to the twin platforms one above the other, and all the way up to the crows nest.
Arriving at 380 feet there is a breathtaking panoramic view. On a clear day you can see as far as North Wales, the Lake District, the Trough of Bowland and as the sun sets on a cloudless evening, The Isle Of man is visible across the Irish Sea.
1. What if I was a scaffolder, a steeplejack, or a mountaineer?
2. What if I could scale this world famous monument?
3. What if I removed the Union Jack atop the crows nest?
4. What if I exchanged it for fluttering skull and crossbones?
5. What if I did it for a bet?
6. What if I used the experience it as a publicity stunt to promote my books?
What if instead I crafted a tale wrapped around my daydreaming?
On the back of a menu I scribbled an outline, stuffed it in my pocket, and forgot about my wild blue meandering until I returned back home.
At three oclock in the morning I awoke to a torrent of jangled thoughts rushing around in my subconscious; unconnected thoughts that gradually joined together to form the nucleus of my tale.
Three hours later I had completed the first four chapters; a few days later I had my first draft, and by the end of the week a final manuscript that was good enough for submission.
Then I broke my own golden rule of a lifetime: never submit to more than one publisher.
I sent my mss off to three sources and several weeks later received by telephone an offer of publication subject to contract.
And so my comedic novella The Blackpool Tower Caper is to be published by a leading fiction house and is scheduled for the bookshelves in the spring of 2007.
The moral to this article; storylines crop up at the oddest moments so when yours arrives, and no matter how inane you consider it at the time, grab it, nurture it, treasure it, develop it without delay - or it will be lost and gone forever and with it a golden opportunity for publication.