Gathering raw material into a notebook, the events, fragments of conversation, impressions of places, random jottings and observations, the ‘Stuff’ that Robin Mukherjee talks about, has always been part of my writing process. This week my focus was on generating ideas around the protagonist, Lanya. It involved creating a backstory for her, making notes on the turning points in her life, the trauma that affects her behaviour, her wants and needs, her fears and dreams. All of which helped generate a picture of who she is and why she does what she does.

Mukherjee’s statement that ‘story isn’t just things happening to someone, but very much about how those things bring about change’ (2014:84) was particularly helpful. It changed the way I think about ideas and how I work with them. By refocusing my attention away from simply looking for a series of events that could happen to Lanya, to thinking about how those events could bring about a change within her, I found myself looking at these ideas within the context of her emotional journey.

‘Night Shift’ is a story about someone who is an outsider within their community. It’s about the indifference that people living and working on the margins of society are faced with, as part of their daily routines. As an arena, the environment in which Lanya finds herself throws up a series of obstacles that she must overcome in order to reach home safely. I think going into the field and undertaking research into this environment will benefit the writing process. It will give me a sense of the geography of the story and its settings, and help me to enrich the atmosphere of the places in which Lanya finds herself.