Gladstone Library Retreat: Day Five

photo 3-1It was beautiful here in north Wales when I woke: blue sky, blazing sun. I’ve been bat-like since my arrival so I decided to go for a walk before heading off to the library. Walking is great for creativity, as is running and swimming. My fellow writers and I had had a lively discussion about it the previous evening.

Next door is St Deiniol’s church. From the gardens at the back of the library there’s access to the graveyard, which is MASSIVE, and I love graveyards so I spent a couple of hours mooching around there, studying the headstones – they are fantastic for collecting character names and you get a real feel for which names were fashionable in which era. I sat in the sun watching at a gaggle of weird birds – they might have been peasants but they were brown; the females perhaps? And I came up with a scene on which to end the novel.

photo 2-1This might strike some of you as peculiar but it’s not the first time I’ve written the final scene near to the beginning of the process. Knowing where to begin a story and having a sense of where it will end isn’t a problem for me – it’s the great big bit in the middle that presents a challenge. And how to tell the story, how to structure it etc etc etc.
Three hours in the library and another 1,700 words later and I have what I think will be an epilogue. I did a little more research afterwards and then began my next read: Blackmoor by Edward Hogan. We’re speaking at an event at the Shoreham Literary Festival in October and I want to have knowledge of Ed’s work beforehand. I’m three chapters in and absolutely sold. Atmospheric, beguiling and menacing; it’s fab.
Now, I’m off to the pub across the road. Chin-chin.


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