Inspiration has been all around me, and I am confident that I am now equipped with enough material to complete the first draft within the next six months.
We have also been house-hunting in the area, but that's another story. Let's say that we leave with a tiny hope of getting a lovely old house by the sea which would be the ideal artist's and writer's HQ for all our projects...
In the meantime, let's concentrate on The Right Place, my third novel, set in the county of Dorset.
Quite a lot of the action will be set around the Abbotsbury area, and the fantastic St Catherine's chapel will feature heavily. Indeed, I could even say that it will be a major character in the novel.
We went back there two days ago and took a few new photos (you can see some more on The Right Place's page HERE...
Below, to illustrate the pictures, I am posting a few raw extracts of my manuscript in progress (which means they are the first things that came out when I sat down to write and nothing has been worked on properly yet!). Obviously, they still need a lot of work, but you'll get the gist of what I am trying to achieve here!
Kat put her pen down [...] She realised that she hadn’t closed the curtains and that beyond the white window pane, the perfect black hole of the Dorset night was gawping at her: just a mass of opaque, complete, homogeneous jet-black nothingness. Kat dared herself to keep looking at that blackness without flinching.
She had been worried the night would never stop and they would be taken prisoners of the cottage for the rest of their lives.
She was terrified that if she looked at the window for too long, some monstrous faces would appear and press their clammy flesh against the windows, leaving some horrible, disgusting greasy marks on the glass as the only proof of their existence.
Some of the wishes had obviously been scribbled in haste in the midst of some sort of emotional whirlwind, on the first paper support the writer had found: a sticky note, the torn lined page of a notebook, or even the back of a supermarket receipt, often in biro or pencil. Then you had the ones that had obviously been composed carefully, thoughtfully. Those had been written down at the back of a postcard purchased in a local art gallery, on letter paper or on a posh bit of card.
[The messages] were sometimes accompanied by a few extra items: coins, ribbons, feathers, small candles, and always dried butterfly wings , tragically decaying and mixing with the stone dust on the rough surface of the recess... Sometimes there were pictures that would stare back at you almost too intensely – it would get too unbearable.
The wishes and their accompanying offerings just appeared as if by magic and then, someone came and cleared the whole lot away, leaving the little stone recess all cold and naked stone, ready to receive its next batch of fresh prayers. What did ‘they’ – whoever they were – do with the messages? Was there a special cupboard in some dusty parish office where all those pieces of people’s hearts were deposited and locked away forever? Kat had imagined row after row of shelves on which were piled up hundreds, maybe even thousands of sad little boxes containing all the wishes and tokens received by St Catherine: some kind of archive of the heartache people had confided in the saint in the hope that the stones would conduct their wishes all the way to her divine ears.