Work in Progress 2.6

Over 60,000 words

The WIP news this week is that I am now over 60,000 words into the first draft of ‘Chester Cadman’, the working title for the fourth Larkspur mystery. I notice this is my sixth post about this work in progress, which means I am six weeks into its writing. That means I am averaging 10,000 words a week. It’s winter here in Greece, and with rainy and cold weather, I’ve not had much chance to get out and about. Therefore, I am at the desk by six in the morning, and once I’ve done any paid work that’s come in and sorted out my admin, I can usually put in a good five hours per day on the novel. It will be less in the summer when we have visitors, I have bar work in the afternoon, and more distractions.

This week, I have been learning all kinds of interesting facts as my research has taken me in many directions. Take yesterday, for example. I needed to write a simple piece of dialogue which first read:

‘I have provided you two pairs of binoculars.’

What’s wrong with that? Nothing, but…

Remember, the story is set in January 1891; that’s one thing. Another is my desire to pay attention to detail, and to make the stories happen in a believable world. That’s why I rushed to the net to have a look at the history of binoculars, to see what was in use at the time. Then, I wondered how I might add some reality and detail to the piece of dialogue that wasn’t just for the sake of word count. Slipping into the mind of the person speaking (Tom Payne, the Larkspur steward), I altered the dialogue to read thus:

‘To be sure, I called on Mr Danylo. Before he came to us, he served in the Ukrainian army, and surveillance was one of his skills. He lent me two pairs of Zeiss binoculars. He says they are better than the Porro make, and infinitely less clumsy than telescopes, because they are smaller. They use a Z-shaped prism and have objective lenses. I hope that means something to you, because it baffled me.’

I may change the end of that to one of Tom’s Kentish colloquialisms, or something to inject a little humour.

Also on my look-up list this week have been: Ancient Egyptian and Arabic proverbs, reigning British monarchs from 1716 to 1815, and the ingredients of a stink bomb (don’t ask), all pertinent to the plot or groundwork for future stories.

My pile of scrap paper and notes is growing, as is my enthusiasm for the story as I head towards the part where I join ‘action plot’ with the ’emotional plot’; though there’s no great action sequence planned for this one, not in the style of the previous Larkspur books at any rate.

But who knows? That’s the joy of writing. I know where I am going to end up, but how I get there is up to the people I am creating.

And so, on to chapter seventeen…

P.S. if you missed it at the weekend check out my guest post over on Ofelia Grand’s website, it includes an exclusive excerpt from Larkspur Four 😲

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