Two weeks ago I spent most of the week plumping up chapter one of my WIP and adding detail; last week I spent a good amount of time cutting back some of that detail (about two pages). The result was that I had a solid start and now feel no itching need to rework it again until I have a finished draft. Or, yanno, about halfway through when I start to panic. But that’s another post.
I finally started on chapter 3 at the end of last week, but the crud knocked me flat and I didn’t do much new writing for four days. The latter half of his week I’ve been inching forward again. I think I finished chapter 3, but it’s a shorter-than-normal chapter. I’ll have to go back over it before I decide if I’m starting chapter 4 now. My MC (Molly) is doing web research to find out about a mystery man. She’s sitting in her room in the Boar and Lion Inn in the fictional Somerset town of Tildham. Really, the scene isn’t as boring as it sounds. Really…
I’m only slightly disingenuous there. The opening of the scene does a great deal of in situ describing, the kind of detail that I know, even as I’m writing it, will have to be cut or reduced. But I have to write it that way the first time through. It’s the way I make the setting come alive in my skull. Once it’s a living entity inside me, I can skinny it down in later drafts, but that first time through is for me.
I love that little room that Molly’s sitting in, though it really isn’t much to look at. It very much harkens back to a tiny room I stayed in for a couple of days on my second trip to England, in a little village called Coxley, on the Glastonbury Road between Wells and Glastonbury. I have such lovely memories of that place, and it’s been fun ensorcelling them back to life in my head. I loved that room—or rather, I loved the inn itself and the countryside around it. At one time it had been a farm, so it wasn’t in Coxley village proper. Open fields stretched on either side, and black and white cows roamed the one outside my window. The fence was quite close to those windows and sometimes when I opened the drapes, a big bovine head would be leaning over it to stare in at me. I may have mooed at them a time or two—not saying I did, just that it is a possibility.
I drove by it again during my trip in 2004, or thought I did—quite disappointed because the area was more built up than I remembered. The place I tentatively identified to my friends as the inn was now surrounded by other buildings. Turns out, I was wrong. I found the correct place on a Google satellite yesterday from 2007. It’s still there, still as I remember it, surrounded by open fields. And it isn’t creepy that I looked it up because, like, I’m doing research for a story, right?
That’s one of the great things about writing. Getting the details right is a great excuse to get nosy, maybe even a little creepy.