Sunday, 17 August 2014

Wharram Percy - Peasant Farming for Fun and Profit.

Writing progress 23,000 words yada yada, but you don't really want to know about that, do you?  You want to know about my trip this week to a Spooky Deserted Medieval Village!  Yes, you do.  No, running away with your fingers in your ears won't help.  Anyway, it counts as research, so there.

Not far from where I live, as the crow flies anyway, is the Wolds.  Are. Is.  Not sure if the Wolds are singular, as in there is only one of them but it's very big or there are many different Woldishnesses all welded together and therefore being plural.  I learned, long ago, just because something has an 'S' on the end, it doesn't have to be plural, when I had a friend called Tess, of whom there was only one.  So, anyway, these Wolds...  Upon them (or it, the jury is still out), there is a well-known and much explored village that was periodically deserted.  Not because of plague, although I'm sure the more picturesque sites would like you to believe that, but for the far more mundane reason that the lord of the manor (who I can't help but picture in a monocle and spats, even though those hadn't been invented) wanted the place cleared so he could keep sheep, which were more profitable than peasants.  I think he probably just hadn't got the whole 'peasant keeping' thing down and that's why he wasn't making money out of them, maybe he should have tried free-range peasants, but anyway.

So I took a representative sample of the young people who currently clutter up my house, two dogs, a picnic, and set forth for the Deserted Village.  And here are the photographic results. Pictures 1, 3 and 5 were taken by me, pictures 2, 4 and 6 were taken by Vienna, who is much better with a camera than me.

Vienna and Will survey the ruined church. They weren't, on this occasion, responsible for the ruination, although I docked their pocket money anyway, on principle.

One man and his dog. Actually, one scheming, conniving probable criminal and her boy.

The church. Still ruined.

Dylan swimming in the reconstructed fish pond on the site.  This is probably frowned upon, although there was nobody there except us to frown, so we let him.

Vienna, staring wistfully into the middle distance,  Behind her are some of the lumps that used to be medieval tofts, crofts and..errr...bofts.

On the way back we did some Urban Exploration.  This is the Wharram Percy Chalk Works as was.  Very atmospheric, if you like the atmosphere of terror.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Location, location, location. As long as the location has chocolate and ice cream.

Sunday 10th of August:  Wordcount 15,040.  Units of alcohol consumed 0.

Oh come on, it's only just lunchtime!  I know you think all writers are wizened old soaks who brush their teeth with whisky but...but...  Look, I hate whisky, all right?  Anyway, look at that wordcount, go on, just look at it.  You don't get to bang that many words out by being smashed by half eight in the morning, or, if you do, you have to go back and redo most of them because they've all got too many 'wvrrkks' in them and the punctuation is all to cock.

So, anyway.  I am continuing to make progress.  Next on the agenda is going to be Research.  Now, I know I always say that my research consists of simply Going Outside, but for this one I need to visit a Place of Interest.  I am quite interested in shops that sell chocolate and ice cream, but on this occasion I am going to visit a house. Nunnington Hall, actually.

It looks like this
And yes, coincidentally, they do have a shop that sells chocolate and ice cream, but that is purely by the by and nothing to do with me visiting, much.  Nunnington is the model for Monkpark Hall in the book in which I have just reached the 15,000 word mark, and I feel that I need a little kick up the historicals to get a little bit more Local Colour for the book.

Oh, not that the book is an historical, no, it's purely contemporary.  But even contemporaries have to have a location, something that will make people want to read on.  Most of my other books are set in York (apart from one in Nevada, where I still have never been, and, unless the Nevada Tourist Board want to recruit me and my book as a publicity aid, I am unlikely ever to go) and, from the comments of my readers that are repeatable in public, people like to read about places that are atmospheric and have a definite role in the book.

So, off I pop to Nunnington, to take in the furniture (oh, not literally, I'm not going there to make off with the Louis Quinze, always supposing they have any.  Most of the places round here have furniture that looks as if it was made by nailing entire trees together, and you're never going to get away with shoving it under your coat and walking out) and the sounds and the smells of the place, in the hopes of stuffing my book full of the feel of a sixteenth century house.  Am hoping that the sounds and smells consist largely of people unwrapping chocolate and eating ice cream...

 Also to find a likely location where someone might see a ghost...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Writers. Making Words Make Sense since 1300... but only because of lack of cheap cider.

You remember how, last week, I told you I was struggling with the first seventy words?  Well, those are now sorted, phew.  The book is most definitely underway.  I would break a bottle of champagne across its bows to launch all those words that I'm starting to put together but...you know, no champagne or anything, so I'm just going to drink this can of cheap cider in celebration. Yes, those words are just flying together!  There are some 2,747 of them now, all queued up in an order that makes some kind of sense!  And among them are words like 'glove' 'scone' 'nondescript' and 'Mr Spock', just to prove that they really do exist and the whole thing isn't some fabulous construct of my imagination.

Excuse me a minute while I just drink some more of this cider.  It really was fabulously cheap, you know.

Yes. Story.  'S got a falcon in it, called Bane and an owl called Skrillex.  And scones.

S-cown.  Not S-con.  I want to be very clear on this matter

 
Y'see.  What it is.. what is it again?  Oh, I remember, yes.  Y'see, I'm not much of a planner, when it comes to writing, I'm am a decided 'pantser', I write by the seat of my pants. Which are, as previously discussed, on my head. So, I've got this shtory..sorry, I mean story...and I've got certain scenes that I can sort of 'see' happening, but no real idea how they link together, so I just have to drink...I mean, I just have to write to find out what happens next.  Oh, whoops, can is empty now, better have another one.

And sometimes I just can't 'see' what happens next at all.  Or I can 'see' something happening but have no idea how to get the characters into that place in which it has to happen for it to happen.  Whoops, sorry, dribble... and when that happens, or rather doesn't happen, everything gets a bit sticky, with long periods of looking at the wall and muttering, which is where I am at now. I need to get a motorbike in there and my main character on the back of it with someone else, but no idea how. No Idea! None! Sorry, sorry didn't mean to punch you in mouth, was waving arms in fashion indicative of having no idea...

Only way to sort this out! More drink!  No, no, I mean, more writing! Musht sit down and write lots words where things happen and then will be story! Hic. Musht shtop procrahshnaitnnig thing and do..thing. You know, thing.  With letters.  Putting them in order so words.

Must schleep now...zzzzzz.....