All week, I've been struggling for a line.
You know those moments in writing, films or plays? Where it's a time of high tension and a character comes out with a cracking, memorable line.
"You're gonna need a bigger boat", when Jaws finally reveals himself. Or "Make him an offer he can't refuse", in The Godfather.
Every writer aspires to creating such a classic.
I came out with an - admittedly paraphrased - version this week, when I was talking to the Read Easy charity about the wonderful work they do, helping adults who struggle to read.
These are some of the volunteers and readers, and a wonderful group of people they are, too.
I was asked why I did such events, and could only think to answer, "Because I can."
Ok, it was a version of the famous Mallory quotation about climbing Mount Everest. But it seemed to sum up the right answer.
I've always thought that if you've been lucky enough to be blessed with certain gifts, you have a duty to use them well.
The line that's giving me trouble is in my new young adults book, number two in the series (hopefully). The two heroes have discovered something quite horrible, and one asks -
"What do we do now?"
And I just can't quite get the right line of a reply.
It's annoying, because I know it's an opportunity to write something powerful. But can I get the words? For a week or more, no.
(So if you've got any thoughts...)
I'm putting into practice another of life's hard learned lessons. I'm going to walk away for a while to see if the answer comes.
That's not giving up. Giving up is never an option. As my good friend Dan says in my TV Detective books, when confronted with the impossible, "We don't fail."
It's just tactics. Play it cool with the muse and she may just come to you.
As another great line might have it - "I'll be back."