Thursday, 23 February 2012

Deep thought, deep Devon

The other week I took myself off to the seaside for a few days, to bury myself in the writing of my second novel. Since September I've been edging my way into it, ticking along with my daily wordcount, feeling it start to slowly take shape. But I hadn't yet been consumed by it. And the manuscript was throwing up difficult questions that I needed time away to answer. The Devon air proved just the thing.

I tucked myself away in a little hotel for a few days, and wrote from dawn until dusk and into the night. All of the usual distractions were entirely absent and although I felt a shade lonely at times, this feeling never lasted long. As soon as I let them breathe a little, I found the new characters I'm creating to be excellent company. And the story I've been working on for several months caught a hold of me at last, and refused to let me go. Happily trapped and writing feverishly, I stayed in my Devon hideaway just long enough to get over that awkward mid-point in a novel's progress. And whenever I sought diversion I could stare out of my window and see a view like this... comforting in its abstraction.

The village I'd chosen was devoid of most of the usual seaside trappings, the shops stuffed with lurid paraphernalia, cutesy 'gone surfing' signs and the like, but one souvenir did catch my eye. Its motto was peculiarly fitting. For much as I was intent at shutting the world out for those few days, I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that when I got back to Bristol the first finished copies of The Book of Summers would be waiting for me, and that publication day is just around the corner. And so, like a grockel (def: a tourist but, really, anyone who doesn't hail from Devon), I went home with a reminder of happy days spent working by the water. And even happier days still to come.