Ok in a break from the normal I shall do things in reverse order this week. First in other news the draft has gone up to 73.5k. This is less than in previous weeks for two reasons. One of them book related the other not. The non book related item was a production by my local am dram group Ellesmere Arts of the Vicar of Dibley in which I took part. For those not familiar with the piece, it is a classic British sitcom revolving around class and religion. Perfect middle class fodder, but in it’s defence it is very well written and has some cracking jokes.
The other reason is one of a growing self awareness of my need to understand and visualise a setting before I can progress my characters actions and interaction. It seems I cannot easily write if I don’t have a clear visual picture of the setting or layout of the place they are in, even if the dialogue is independent of the setting or location. Up until now all of the action has taken place in London and for each of the key locations I have been able to either recreate the setting e.g. Benekey’s the pub at the beginning was a real place, see here and much of it’s interior is still visible today as the Citte of York in Holborn. In fact I have been there, had a pint and generally soaked up the atmosphere.
For navigation around the Victorian capital, Booths Maps of London Poverty have been invaluable for identifying streets, planning routes, as well as pinpointing the Location of the “The Devils Acre” a rookery or slum that existed at the time. Finally being able to find floor plans of Victorian town houses has allowed me to create the London base for the Cadre in such a way that I can mentally move through it and visualise each room and the relationship between them and their original functions. Now I find myself all at sea.
I hadn’t really considered this until it became clear that as I moved my characters off dry land and onto the ocean, I would need to create a new mini universe for them to inhabit. As soon as I started this new section, I found myself struggling to make sense of what I was writing. It seems I need to fully realise the new setting before I can start progressing the story. So the upshot of this is that I need to fully understand what a Victorian steam warship was like, the crew, their quarters, what they ate, the normal ships routine, even though those details may only surface as passing references in the text and play no real part in the story itself. So it’s off to the library and the interweb for a period of micro world building just so my heroes can continue their relationships, their bickering, encounter new challenges, and that’s before they finally get to Africa, where the real story begins………
See you next week, hopefully with some real progress to report.