Writing, researching and spreading yourself too thin

Good evening chaps and chapettes

Today’s words are all about writing and research and the importance of backing your stories up. I’ve had to go through all my bits and pieces with regards to the four stories I’ve got on the go (all at very different stages) because summer is coming!!! and the conservatory where I normally keep them gets too hot. The heat and sun can ruin books just like that. Some of them are out of print and others are just, in volume, too expensive for me to replace, so they will be re-located to a safe place indoors.

I finished my last indie published book ‘The Waiter’s Game’ almost four years ago now and I have not finished one since. The second year, 2014, to give myself a push, I completed NaNoWriMo and the exhaustion from the work was nothing to the exhilaration of completing it. 50,000 words in one month and that story is called The Parade. Set in Spain and following a young girl. Isabel,  whose family was on the Republican side, through the war and its aftermath to current day Spain and its Pact of Forgetting, it needed another viewpoint. The Spanish Civil War was a conflict with no black and white, very much like Syria today, where brother fought brother and I thought it important to have a boy from a Nationalistic side too. The research has been terribly difficult for this as writers from all over the world came to Spain to help the Republican side and wrote about it in papers and books outsided Spain, but not so much normal people from Franco’s side. I have however just found a couple of books that might help me along a little. This NanoWriMo story, when it’s finished will surely win the Booker prize :). Having a sense of humour is very important.

The following year, 2015, I had not done enough writing in the year and so to punish myself, I did NaNoWriMo again. This time it was a lighthearted, Sunday night telly, story set in 1940s Sussex, England, called Tea and Moles in Brackended Green. This is the story that is nearly finished now and will have its first readers and reviews this June. I got myself a co-writer to finish this story, one that very ‘up’ on the world of Cricket and it’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off.

The third book in progress is Tea and Moles spin off without a name. I refer to it as ‘Daisy in London’. Now, if you’re writing a story set in the UK, you can do worse than using the Times Archive for research purposes. It will show you what the rather heavily censored and propaganda press was telling people during the war years. It goes all the way back to 1885 up to 1985 so no matter if you’re writing a Victorian murder mystery or cold war spy book, this is a really useful tool. I know you can use other ones too but I find that some of them requires much more trawling through local stories that may be interesting but not of much use to your story. You have to concentrate and not read every article just because it’s interesting. I do do that quite a lot which is probably why I am running out of time (I got an 8 week sub for £8 so have to get a move on).  The Battle of Britain website will tell you what the weather was doing as well as the battles during that time. I found that very useful as Daisy is set in London during the autumn of 1940.

The fourth story is a real pain. The Sospiro Journal goes from one plot to another and I won’t bore you with it right now. If it hadn’t been for my husband pushing me to write it I might have left it to one side as the research is too complicated. He wants to read it though so I’m writing it and in June me and my friend Jac are spending a few days in Como/Brunate. I’m not sure how much she’s going to enjoy being dragged down hillsides and bored to death with the history of the place but I reckon a glass or two of Prosecco will make her happy. This is the story I’ve just backtracked on, and having deleted all my early drafts, I was really pleased that I’d backed my laptop up, because I then decided to use my original story. Phew.

So, I will leave you for now and get all my books and A4 pads organised and put away safely.

Ciao ciao ciao

Marie

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