Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Enjoying the Process.
'Ceridwen,' Christopher Williams, (1910.)
The fun part of doing research for a novel is the interesting side-trails that we inevitably stumble into. I had never heard of Ceridwen before, although the legend actually stems from Wales and my new Inspector Maintenon story happens for the most part in Devon. More specifically, it happens on or about the fringes of Dartmoor, as well as having a few small scenes in London and elsewhere.
One thing I am specifically interested in is police organizational structures, insofar as that relates to a murder investigation at county or village level in the west country of England in 1927.
I don't want to have an Inspector attend to the scene if it should be a Superintendent, or Chief Inspector, or whatever. Also, I need to determine the proper title of the person who would run an inquest, whether that would be a coroner or justice of the peace, a sheriff's jury, (or whatever.) This is very important in detective fiction, because unlike sci-fi or high fantasy, I can't just create a body of law or political and legal structures out of whole cloth.
Let's just say that like relying on memory, there are dangers here, and every simple fact and statement must be challenged by the author, and no, it isn't enough or even proper to just grab a few used Dame Agatha paperbacks and 'study the era a little more.'
I will probably check out the music of the day--this leads to ever more specific key words and search engine queries, such as 'popular songs English, 1927,' for example; and then you just hit 'search.' There will be some passing references in there I'm sure. But if Maintenon is listening to Berlioz, I'd better be damned sure the song wasn't first published or performed in 1928.
In terms of wildlife and the natural environment, so far I have mentioned sun-dews, and the dipper-bird, and some other indigenous creatures in the text. The moors and heathlands, the tors and crags are easily enough described by anyone familiar with the outdoors and who has the time to read up on it!
I've chosen the village, and some other details will naturally enough fall into place.
In the last three days, the story has advanced by about 2,700 words and that's not a bad pace. The most I ever wrote in a day was maybe 12,000 words. That book came out too long, and there was some cutting involved by the end of the process.
In other matters, I spend a certain amount of time each day searching out marketing images, and just keeping up in general. It is summer, and now that my life is a little more settled, it's a good idea to relax, take it a little easier, and try to enjoy the process a little more.