I am making slow progress on The Right Place, finally reaching 20,000 words a few days ago.
If I had been as productive as I'd wanted to be during the past five months of lockdown/coronavirus crisis, I probably would have finished the first draft by the end of the this month. Alas! It was not to be...
I still intend on sticking to my new schedule of completing the first draft by 31st December.
Over the next few weeks, I will go out and find inspiration in the county of Dorset...
I have a busy weekend planned, so might have something to post about by Monday!
The pictures illustrating this post were taken yesterday in Portesham, a village we've driven through so many times on our way to Bridport or the Hardy monument or further afield that we have lost count.
But we had never really stopped there, and yesterday, we had a good look around the village (especially to look at The Old Vicarage which was for sale until recently - we quite fancied it, you see, because it was exactly as we imagine our dream house to be - i.e not ruined/modernised inside - but as it came with a price tag of £600,000...)
The house in the picture is Grade II listed Trafalgar House - and it is sadly in a sorry state. It always makes me so cross when houses are just left to rot. Most certainly, it would be better for someone to be allowed to save it from imminent ruin?
I am not a writer who plans my novels to the very last punctuation mark...
As I haven't done the "MA in creative writing" that now seems to be near-obligatory to get published (don't even get me started on that), I do not have any "method" and I feel completely free to do things exactly the way I like.
And that freedom is essential to me and is what makes the writing process rather thrilling (apart from when I have complete writer's block as has been the case for most of lockdown and the weeks beyond... I have just found my writing mojo again.) The only issue with this is that I can go on a tangent whilst writing the first draft and make everything more complicated for me.
I've lately done just that, making a minor character who was not supposed to appear again in the novel the core protagonist in a scene which was never going to happen until about a week or so ago. Just as if things were not complicated enough in The Right Place, I've decided to have a major scene featuring music, art and intrigue on a particular night of the year - with all its symbolism and logistical conundrums. And I have just named a band "Veasta", the name of the Portland sea-monster whose sightings have spread across the centuries...
I have no idea whether I'll put this off or not.
But it's exciting!
We have been coming to Dorset since 2011 and moved to the county three and a half years ago... One of my favourite places is the area around Abbotsbury, and if you follow this blog (?) you'll know that my third novel, The Right Place, is set mostly in the village. So I can safely say that I have explored the area quite a bit.
Obviously not enough, though!
And yet, we keep discovering new paths and roads... So we have now added a new road to our list, one with thrilling views and loads of fantastic walks for the forthcoming months - when everyone has gone back home and left the countryside to us!
Unfortunately, my pictures never show the true beauty of the landscape... Maybe I should go back to using a proper camera instead of a silly mobile phone...
I have now worked out a new publishing schedule for my first Dorset-based third novel, The Right Place.
It will be published in January or February 2022 (If everything goes well and Arcane Publishing have the funds...)
The writing is still a difficult and long process, with too many interventions/interruptions from the real world which have come to interrupt the progress of my work.
I will start again doing my "work" visits to Abbotsbury very soon as I have some very specific scenes to write, especially a very special musical one set in and around the chapel. I will of course post pictures and thoughts about it on here...
Yesterday, we saw that there is a lovely shop to let in the village; having our own bricks and mortar place to showcase and sell our work is out ultimate goal, and doing this in Abbotsbury would be brilliant, but we do not think we can safely afford it yet, unless we sink all our saving into it, and doing so in these times of crisis would be mad indeed... Shame, as it is indeed ideally situated, and we already have a few ideas about how we could make this work with the historic hall across the street (i.e organising events). If nobody has taken it on by next January/February, we might contact the agent to inquire about maybe having a go for the Spring/Summer season of 2021? Who knows...
Watch this space!
We recently went back to Eggardon Hill and promised ourselves then to explore the area properly this year.
Yesterday, as the temperature peaked and the crowds invaded the coast, we fled to inland, wild Dorset to try and avoid human interaction as much as possible. We did succeed, of course, as this is the beauty of actually living in Dorset: in the summer, as soon as you move away from the towns and the coast, you barely see anyone. And from September until April/May, you basically have the whole county to yourself, so you can choose...
This time, we drove past Eggardon Hill and continued on our way to Powerstock Common, a beautiful and peaceful area bathed in the glow of an ancient, ancestral landscape... It is indeed peaceful but bursting with life: the flora and fauna are incredibly rich - there are birds everywhere, and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a hare and a white deer... We also came across cattle grazing among the trees and encountered the Exmoor ponies that were recently introduced to the Nature reserve to do the very important job of "conservation grazing".
There is a lot to see there and the surrounding area and we will be back there regularly over the next few months to explore further and make the most of the bountiful nature of the reserve...
Above, some remnants of railway posts - the disused railway line that ran between Maiden Newton and Bridport until 1975 passes through the reserve...
You will find a lot of information about the natural world of the common ON THIS LEAFLET.
I think therefore I write.
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