What happens next?

Posted on August 2, 2016

Two important questions for writers to ask themselvesOn Sunday night, I finished the structural edit on book #4 in The Mapmaker Chronicles series, let out a very quiet ‘woo hoo’ (it was 11.15pm so it was very, very quiet) and then pressed send to forward it to my editor at Hachette Australia.

Exhaling, my thoughts immediately turned to what happens next. When I visit schools for author visits, I always tell kids that there are two big questions that drive a writer’s work:

a) what if?

b) what happens next?

‘What if?’ is the starting point for any story. What if, for example, there was a race to map the world? And what if (even better), you were a boy who would really much rather stay home?

But ‘what happens next?’ drives the story forward.

What if you decided you were going to write a novel? And what if (even better), you decided that instead of just talking about it, you actually sat down to do it?

What happens next?

For me, ‘what happens next?’ is a regular question in my life as well.

The edit is finished, what happens next?

In this case, I can answer quite easily – I’m resuming #writeabookwithal today so that I can finish the draft manuscript I’ve been writing since 1 June. I’ve got about another 10,000 words to go, and then I’ll put the draft aside to languish in a drawer while I work on something else. That that ‘something else’ will be is yet to be decided, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes here so I think it will sort itself out by the time I reach the point of really needing to know. (I think this is known as ‘making a plan to make a plan’.)

In the meantime, I’m putting the finishing touches to the Make Time To Write course, organising school visits (Book Week is approaching and this is a busy time of year for children’s book authors!), creating a new writing workshop for kids, and making some changes to my website. So, enough to keep me occupied…

But tell me about you. What happens next for you?


  1. Maria Parenti-Baldey

    Thank you for sharing your writing journey with the Mapmaker Chronicles. I feel your enthusiasm and passion driving writers, like myself, forward towards our writing aspirations. I have achieved one goal: an AWC YA Writing & Children’s Course. Next for me is applying (x3) my knowledge to my small manuscript and ensuring it is a high standard before sending it off to the right 2-3 publishers. Just wading through their requirements needs a new AWC course to continue to motivate me to the next step. It can be daunting. I like that you can email manuscripts nowadays. Cheers Maria

    • Allison Tait

      Good luck Maria!

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