Paula’s Post #75 –
Monday, June 2nd 11:15pm
So, I’m dashing off my first draft of today’s post from my new home on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. This afternoon, the sun was indeed out. Gulls cawed as they soared through the blue skies above the pier and in front of my home, a pair of Canada geese paddled by, showing off their ‘straighten up and swim right’ flock of fuzzy little goslings, the whole family cruising past in military formation.
Tourists, too, have started to flock to our little town. Yachts are moored just past the jette and I can see a half-dozen sailboats tacking through the gentle waves, just outside the breakwater.
And we are leaving.
Leaving behind our dog, our newly renovated (but as yet largely ‘unpacked’) new home. Leaving behind our newly ordered kayaks, our just set up barbecue, our freshly planted herb and vegetable garden. Leaving behind the home we’ve occupied for less than 3 weeks.
I am, as you may have sensed, conflicted.
Tomorrow, just like the iconic ‘Poppy Family‘ song from the 1970’s – I’ll yet again be ‘Leavin’ on a Jet Plane‘. Fortunately, I do know when I’ll be back again. But, just like in the song, “I hate to go.”
We’re off to Scotland tomorrow to visit the rellies, – mostly my husband’s family, but also the ‘ghost towns’ of my families past: the ancient crofters’ villages of Stein and Lusta on the Island of Skye. Coincidentally, (or not) the setting for the ‘just started’ novel I debuted for my fellow 5writers at last weeks meeting.
I’m excited about the book. I’m thrilled at the encouragement and feedback I’ve received from my 5writers critique group. These guys are good!
I’m very excited about seeing Skye.
I admit I’m somewhat less excited about the northern Scotland weather, but hey, – I know that after a winter in Palm Springs, I’m not likely to get much sympathy in that quarter.
Most of all, I’m excited about getting the chance to do some ‘boots on the ground’ research for my new novel. Something more than my usual resort to ‘Google Images’.
Research is something we writers either love or hate. (Or maybe even love-hate, depending on what genre we’re writing in, at the time). Mostly, I love it.
In the days that follow, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on research here in our 5writers blog. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to hear acclaimed mystery author Elizabeth George describe how she set about doing the complex research for the novels in her Inspector Lynley series.
Novels of England… of London and more precisely, of Scotland Yard. Novels more English than the English. So authentic in detail, it is almost impossible to believe they were penned by a Yank, and a Californian at that.
In the seminar I attended, Ms. George described in painstaking detail her full sensory exploration of the settings for her novels-in-progress: describing how she walks down a street in an unfamiliar English town, camera in one hand, digital recorder in the other, as she records every detail of what she sees, hears, feels and experiences.
I’ve never had the opportunity to research a full novel in this manner, but I think my unnamed ‘novel of Skye’ may present the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
If you’ve got some tips to share about how you do your research, I’d love to hear from you, too.
But right now, I still need to pack.
Tuesday, June 3rd, 7:15pm
Oops! Fell asleep before I pressed send. It is now the next evening and I’m parked outside Gate 58 at YVR, waiting for my flight to Heathrow. Boarding is in 29 minutes. In the meantime, I just checked my email and discovered registration for the Surrey International Writers Conference (SIWC) opens tomorrow, June 4th. If you’ve ever considered attending a writers’ conference, I commend this one to you. It’s where we 5writers first met and decided to form a critique group. It is also where I heard Ms. George give her intriguing presentation on her painstaking research method. If you want to check what’s on this year, click on the link below.
Next post from over the pond!