Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Magic words

It's been a long week of exploration of research for future books, and an internal debate about how much I can actually do. In a good spell with few or no interruptions, I can enjoy writing about 2 books a year, or just under. I can also manage some poetry, some drama and a bit of short story writing (even though I find it the most time consuming). With family problems, distractions and real life, it starts to dwindle down to just the books. At the moment, book 3 is growing nicely, I reached a point where I knew it was derailed but had found a way to rewrite so I paced it better, which is always my bugbear.   

So I'm back writing, while book 4 buzzes in the back of my head from all the research and the pictures and sensory impressions we gathered from Dartmoor. I started by writing the snippets of 'Dartmoor lore' that will shape the contemporary story. It will be a bit of relief to get away from the sixteenth century for a book and instead play around with the Victorian era. It will also be nice to write a bit more about my other character, Sage, the archaeologist from the prequel. I like her, not least because she has a solid scepticism about all things that go bump in the night.

The script above is called Ge'ez, it's one of the very earliest scripts ever written, some of the very early books of the Bible have been written in it. Associated with the earliest Christian community in Ethiopia (strange to think the earliest church wasn't in Rome, but in Africa!) the script remains as a written language that is only used in the church, a bit like our Latin. It spells out a message to enjoy the story, it amused me to think that 'magic words' might play a part in the promotion of the book. The book of Enoch, not canonical in most Christian or Jewish texts now, was written in Ge'ez in the third century BC. Sometimes these little snippets of fact find their way into my plots...it describes all the angelic beings. Playing around with angels is almost like inventing aliens, you have a lot of room for manoeuvre.

Always a bit reclusive (isn't that an occupational hazard of writing?) I've been making a real effort to network and it's paying off. I've met some interesting writers, at all levels, and it's opened up the chance to do some teaching, which always makes my own writing better. Good teaching, I think, throws a question out there and all the knowledge and experience of the whole group can be teased out and shared, I always learn loads, anyway! I'm teaching two workshops on writing short stories at Barnstaple library, should be good.

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