It’s been too long since I’ve posted a full-on writing update, and a few changes have occurred since. The main one is that I’ve been to England and Scotland, having just returned this past Sunday. I didn’t get much writing done while there (for either my fiction or this blog), but I did write down some notes. But the main thing is that I’m gearing up for several books at once, which I hope to tackle by the end of July. The second part is that I’ve been querying literary agents for my first book for a few months. I have yet to be accepted by one, but two have given me personalized rejection letters with bits of advice, which is encouraging.
First off, let’s talk about England and how my vacation will probably affect my writing in the future. The main character in my series, Rebecca Sellers, was born in England. Although she grew up all across Europe (in hiding), she still feels attached to her home country. Research can only take you so far to understand the appeal of a foreign country; sometimes you have to experience it for yourself. That wasn’t why I went to England, but it was most certainly a plus. It will also help me with writing locations in England when I edit them later, especially in the books where a significant portion takes place there.
Yes, that is a working trebuchet in that picture, at Warrick castle
Maybe it works too well (that used to be the boathouse)
As a Canadian, I’ve visited several other countries. I’ve been to Florida a couple times. I’ve been to a tourist island of Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The furthest I’ve been from home is Italy, and while there we took an all too brief trip to Switzerland. It was poor planning on my mom’s part to only give us 40 minutes to walk around there before we had to ride the train back. Of all the places I’ve been, England (and Scotland) is the first country I’ve visited that I could see myself living in if I had the money.
The Scottish Highlands are breathtaking. Just make sure you dress warm. I think we only had 5 hours of darkness the one night it’s so far up North.
Sure, the other places were good to visit, but Italy got kind of boring toward the end of our trip there. There are lots of fascinating old buildings, but many of them start to look like the same Roman ruins after a while. I’m sure I’d be alright with some places in the States, but Florida has plenty of nutjobs and the idea of living there scares me (no offense to anyone who lives there and I’m sure there are plenty of normal people there). As someone who is sensitive to hot weather I wouldn’t want to live too far south, so anything in the Caribbean is out.
There are differences in attitudes of course, but the British are more similar to Canada than I thought before going there. They have similar attitudes toward politeness, gun control laws (they’re even stricter there) and healthcare. It’s a beautiful country too. London is a brilliant mix of new and old with their buildings, and they use space efficiently. The one day, we ate in a pub placed right in one of the support towers in the London Tower Bridge. My brother can literally say he pissed under a bridge and got away with it.
There’s a great variety of looks in their smaller villages. Some look very traditional, and others look fairly modern. York is a straight up medieval town; one that you can not only walk through with ease, but you’ll pass by all sorts of used book stores along the way. Yes, I did look through some and bought an old book about the Battle of the Somme. Unfortunately we didn’t get to Manchester, which I would have loved to see, but I have a sizeable list of places to visit should I return.
This is an inside shot of Doune Castle, where they filmed much of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Anyway, one of the highlights of the trip was The Eagle and the Child, the very pub where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis used to hang out with their Inklings group and discuss fiction. The pub makes plenty of references to their writing group, but otherwise it feels like an ordinary pub, and that’s what makes it so special. The food there is great – I had fish and chips, with a locally brewed beer to wash it down. The atmosphere is calm and quiet. Of course being a writer, I not only had to take pictures, but I wrote part of a short story while waiting for my food. I wrote part of a story that takes place in the pub just after the Second World War ends … where the perspective character bumps into Tolkien. Why not?
As for my fiction writing update, I’m gearing up for the second draft of book 3 in the Blood Rage series which I hope to start editing it on Thursday. That depends on how my last minute planning goes today. Book 3 was the second book I wrote for Nanowrimo 2013 and to be honest, I’m nervous about this one. Without going into plot details, this is probably my least favourite first draft. I needed an editor’s input to realize my first book’s pacing problems (which I believe I’ve fixed), but right after I finished this draft, I knew there were serious pacing problems in the second act. That’s not why I haven’t touched it in a while, but it doesn’t help with my concerns. At the same time, it has what I feel to be the most emotionally involving climax and I’m looking forward to revisiting that. Much of the third act takes place in the Scottish Highlands, and now that I’ve seen them with my own eyes, I’m looking forward to revisiting that part.
I’m also building up to writing book 8. Again without spoiling anything when I’m not even ready to discuss book 2 online yet, this one will be the largest scale book I’ve written yet. It’s a fairly ambitious project and one I’ve been planning for more than a year now. All I will say is that in universe, the main villain is one of the few beings that Dracula fears. After that I’ll mostly be gearing up for Nanowrimo 2015, where I’ll probably write a book that has nothing to do with Blood Rage. After working on this series for nearly 3 years at that point, I’ll need some sort of break.
This picture was taken by looking down from Hadrian’s Wall, the edge of the Roman Empire in England.
Anyway, that’s it for this writing update. I hope you enjoyed, and feel free link to any recent writing updates in your own blogs in the comments.