I'll admit it, in our house, every day is Halloween...
Here's the acoustic version of Ministry's "Every day is Halloween".
Ministry is one of my all-time favourite bands...
When I write my novels, I have a whole movie in my head. I can "see" the locations, the settings, the people. I have a extremely precise idea of what my characters should look like - I'd be a nightmare to deal with if someone wanted to turn one of my books into a film or TV series...
The other day, I was researching some images for one of the main characters in The Right Place, Katharine "Kat" Moorhouse, and I stumbled across pictures of a young woman who looked exactly as Kat would look 6 years on from the action of the book. In the novel, Kat is 14, and I guess this young lady must be around 20...
So here she is: Kat at 20...
Please accept my apologies for the watermarks...
As we are slowly entering a particularly challenging and dark winter, I find myself turning even more than usual to books, music, writing and the Dorset landscape. You wouldn't believe the size of my "books to buy" list.
The week ahead is looking particularly wet and windy, and I intend on concentrating on my work-in-progress The Right Place; I am also finding myself more and more involved in the planning of my fourth novel, the vintage-tinged detective/supernatural story Hell Lane: a Barton Stacey mystery.
We managed to escape the rain yesterday for a couple of hours, and we found a new starting point for some forthcoming winter walks relatively close to our house; the well-established walking routes of the Jubilee Trail and the South Dorset Ridgeway cross paths at this point. There's plenty to explore on the edges of Weymouth, and I will of course post about those wintery excursions on here.
Yesterday, our walk took us along the Dorchester-Weymouth relief road which was built in 2012 for the Olympics.
It is already proving to be a problem as traffic is heavy most of the time, and as the population of both towns grows, the local authorities' woeful lack of planning comes to light.
The relief road cuts deep into the ancestral landscape which keeps on inspiring me and giving me some kind of perspective on the current national and international situation; the echoes of the county's ancient past are all around us as we walk its old ways. The Dorset countryside is sprinkled with Iron Age forts, tumuli, heritage buildings, ruins and patches of land scorched by the violent struggles of the previous centuries.
We found ourselves standing at the site of the Ridgeway Hill Burial, where the heads and bodies of 51 decapitated Vikings were found in 2009 during the construction of the relief road; it did send shivers down our spine...
A surprisingly bright wildflower meadow has sprung up here on the Ridgeway!
This summer, I discovered a wonderful little corner of the Dorset countryside just above my favourite place (and the location of my third novel and work-in-progress, The Right Place. Where is this? Find out HERE).
You can park easily for walks, there are green slopes and strip lynchets, coppices, and a wonderful view over the coast, Chesil Beach and Portland.
I love this little corner so much that I have chosen it for my experiment: to take a picture of the same place every month to report on the passing of the seasons on the Dorset countryside.
I am now exactly at the time my third novel starts: early October, going into November and moving beyond the New Year.
I don't have a precise or ultimate schedule for the action - I'll just let the story carry me wherever it wants to.
I have now passed the 29,000 words mark on my first draft, but the worries and uncertainty of Real Life still have too strong a grip on me to allow me to dedicate myself 100% to my book.
I still dream of hitting my deadline of 31st December for Draft 1, but it now seems very unlikely.
I will do my best in the circumstances...
Saturday was the perfect day for a quick walk on the South Dorset Ridgeway.
Walking there last week, the lyrics of High, the song by New Model Army, came to mind.
They are all the more relevant at present.
Walking on the Ridgeway on Saturday, with the sun shining over the sea and the cliffs of the Jurassic coast, I was reminded of the lyrics of High, the beautiful song by New Model Army.
They are all the more relevant at present.
The movers move, the shakers shake,
Another one of our favourite places in Dorset is Tyneham Village (which was evacuated during the Second World War and taken over by the army - it is quite a sad story...), with the beautiful Worbarrow Bay just a few minutes' walk away, and access to the wonderful range walks all around.
It was a little bit too busy for my taste yesterday (Dorset seems to still be unusually busy for this time of year in a pandemic) but we still managed to enjoy the breath-taking views from Flower's Barrow.
I need to get out in the countryside more than ever as the future looks increasingly uncertain.
I will not hit my deadline of 31st December for the completion of Draft 1 of The Right Place, unfortunately, as I've had to re-adjust to the "new reality", and once again have to consider getting a "long-term" job, which is not ideal - but this virus and the looming shadow of Brexit have massively undermined our plans.
I am still waiting to know what the state of play will be in January/February before I commit to the Arcane Online Bookshop.
So it's really a game of wait and see (and try not to despair!).
I think therefore I write.
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