Foster's fiction: Week 2 of National Novel Writing Month

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

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Ever wanted to write a book? Well, BBC Northern Ireland's Ann-Marie Foster is taking on the challenge. There is just one catch. She only has 30 days to do it...and she has used up seven already...

In retrospect, it was a good thing that I didn't get any of those golden tickets for the MTV EMA extravaganza.

I didn't have time to go and if your novel is set in 1980s Northern Ireland, it would be hard to justify watching people who weren't even born then, wouldn't it? Well, Queen were around, but they never played Belfast in those dark days.

Queen didn't play Belfast did they? Might just have to check that; add that search to my browser folder.

It already contains some interesting facts, for example, revolvers don't shed gun casings the way semi-automatics do; a description of the effects of an intravenous dose of diazepam and a comparison of the Moto Guzzi Interceptor and Triumph Bonneville.

It doesn't really matter, my characters are unlikely to have time to go to a Queen gig.

But they might. Truth is stranger than fiction and if that writer's road block rears up in front of my laptop I may well send them all somewhere unusual and see what happens.

Lost soul

But for now, the words are flowing and I am on a high. This is a typical phase in novel writing month. Either the first few days leave you buzzing with the thrill of watching the word count rise or - and commiserations if this has happened to you - you get to about page 20 and it all fizzles out.

It could be you've run out of storyline or got bogged down in real life.

Ah yes, real life. My poor family.

One week down and just over three still to go. Social services may be paying a visit by the end of the month.

But can I tell you a secret? I don't care.

The heat, the passion, the thrill of it all - it's like the addiction of new love.

I am engrossed in my characters and their alternative world. I live and breathe them morning, noon and night. I forget to eat lunch, and suddenly it's dark. I am a lost soul, captured by the keyboard.

If I have to go shopping, if the teenagers are really starving because we have run out of everything dipped in chocolate, then at least I can study my fellow shoppers, looking for a suitable gesture here, an inspiring tattoo there.

But sometimes, when I have just written a particularly nasty page or two, it can be quite soothing just to peel the potatoes.

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