I’m no angel – and the only use I have for the head of a pin is to jab it into the line-up for the Grand National. Usually, my other hand is over my eyes as I place my absolute trust in the haphazard nature of fate.
Today, I used the internet to check the runners. As it’s rather difficult to jab a computer screen, I was forced to read the names. Auroras Encore seemed to leap from the screen and I backed her. The reason was as whimsical as my jabbed pin choices – Aurora is a character in my latest novel, which is still a work in progress.
Currently, my Aurora is a rather cunning and crazed woman who exists on the sidelines of the main story. Imagine my disbelief when her name sake streaked home in first place with the wonderful odds on 66 -1. No one was more astonished than me when I realised my €2.50 each way bet had netted me a hefty €211.
As the horses raced around the track and the commentator told us they were approaching the Foinavon fence I was reminded of a dream my father-in-law had on the night before the 1967 Grand National. In his dream all the horses fell down until only horse remained capable of crossing the finishing line. He could hear people cheering on this lone horse. “Fionavon! Foinavon!” The name was repeated many times and the following day when he was studying the form he noticed the name and remembered his dream.
Fionavon was running at 100-1 and he placed modest bet on the horse. To his astonishment his dream unfolded before his eyes as horse after horse fell down or refused the jumps. Alone, with the field in disarray, Fionavon romped home to victory. To commemorate that famous win the fence was officially named after Fionavon in 1984.
Today Auroras Encore leaped that fence cleanly - and I’m the richer for it. But what do I do with my Aurora character whom I’ve treated with scant respect until now. As writers we are advised not to fall in love with our characters. We control them, not the other way round – and love makes fools of us all. I feel like pressing the delete button on Aurora’s more unpleasant aspects. I want to promote her from the wings of a subplot and make her the heroine of the main plot.
I’m hoping the fever will pass … once I’ve squandered my winnings.Otherwise, there’s just too much rewriting to be done and really, she’s far more interesting when she’s crazed and cunning, and always capable to surpassing the others by a long streak.