I am still in Dorset working on the planning and plotting The Right Place. I am almost there, and a lot of work has been achieved: character profiles and backstories, timeline, motivations, POV, etc. I've done a few changes from my original idea, and I now feel almost ready to start writing... I even have a few scenes in my head, all ready to be written!
Having an incredibly inspiring (and quiet) environment has genuinely been invaluable: here, at Norburton Hall in Burton Bradstock, I have physical and mental space to work, something which I haven't got at all at home; this has been a massive obstacle to my work over the past 8 months or so. I just cannot stand my urban setting anymore. I've fallen out of love with it. I didn't see it coming at all... or maybe I did and didn't admit it. It's been slow, creeping over me over the past five years or so, but I always thought I'd overcome it. I haven't...
So here, I can get out of the park and walk into the gorgeous countryside, taking in a multitude of smells, noises and views. I grab small details to put into my book. Not one day is the same: the weather changes, and it makes the lanscape change on a daily basis. This morning, I ran on the coastpath and had to stop and do a few exercises at the top of the hill: I had a 360 degrees view. In front of me, the sea, much calmer than it had been over the previous days. To the right, the Golden Cap, the iconic Colmer's Hill and Bridport, with Lyme Regis in the distance. To the left, The Knoll and Chesil Beach (which will both feature in my book), and a bit further, the Isle of Portland. Behind me, the gorgeous hills of the Dorset countryside which I have come to love so much.
There are very few humans around and loads of birds... bliss...
I read a lot: I have finished Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household, I have almost reached the end of Robert MacFarlane's The Old Ways and I am going over Louise Hodgson's Secret Places of West Dorset once more (the follow-up, More Secret Places of West Dorset, is out soon, I will purchase a copy of course!).
For smuggling action, I always have Robert Guttridge's Dorset Smugglers at hand.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to post anything visual until I come back to the South East as my computer is messing around again, and this time it refuses to go back to normal. I have access to the Internet but cannot do anything else as I cannot reach any of my documents, word docs and pictures... thankfully, I have plenty of pens and paper!
I will post a general picture blog when I come back (the computer has to go to the computer hospital, I'm afraid...)
In early December, we will also announce at last the line-up for our event in London on 27th February 2016, LONDON: WINTER TALES. It will be a music/poetry/literary event (quite a rock'n'roll one, do not fear!) and I am really looking forward to telling you all about it!
There is also change in the air about our unit in West Bay... We are looking for a new location... More news in the New Year!
I am staying at the beautiful Norburton Hall in Burton Bradstock in a wonderful and incredibly comfy apartment called The Stables and located in the grounds (and facing the courtyard) of a beautiful manor house.
The first week of my writing residency has been plagued by technical issues. Yes, I am here to concentrate on my book The Right Place, set in the area, and most of the preparation work and plotting is done with pen and paper, but I still need to do some research, do some freelance work unfortunately scheduled for this month and communicate with loved ones.
The estate's internet router went mad on the second day of my stay, and my computer decided to have a massive loony on the third day; oh, and I need to either go to the beach or the top of a hill for my phone to get a signal (I'm learning about rural life with technology - I lived in Cornwall for a whole year back in the late 90s before I had a computer and a mobile phone, and it was much less stressful!).
But I really, really thought I was going to lose my laptop, which was not fun at all.
Thankfully, the tiny (and absolutely gorgeous) village of Burton Bradstock has a lovely community library (with two PCs!). They really saved my bacon on Thursday! I will probably go back there this month as they have a few local history books (and my computer might go weird again, who knows...)
Then yesterday, miracle! Everything started working again... the Wi-Fi was sorted out and my computer decided that it was not going to die on me in the end...
And... relax (for the time being).
To get me in the mood, I am reading Robert MacFarlane's The Old Ways and Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male.
Walking the coast path between Burton Bradstock and West Bay and back (in a storm!) two days ago was an interesting experience and made me feel like Robert MacFarlane on some of his walks. On your own in the landscape under the rain, battling against the wind and soaked to the core, you do feel slightly on edge and vulnerable.
I've also started to go for a run on the beach every other day. I am trying to record sensations and emotions for my novel, as one of my characters is a keen runner.
When you start walking and running on your own surrounded by nature and without the "pollution" generated by human activity, you start noticing very small things: the smells and the noises of the natural world; your eye is attracted by the various discarded things spat out by the sea. You feel more conscious of your own body and its workings, but also stronger and braver.
This afternoon, after five days and a half of brooding skies and rain, the sun made an appearance and I decided to get down to the beach. It was a real spectacle!
I leave you with a few pictures taken this afternoon.
Now I need to return to my book...
I think therefore I write.
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