Really odd today.
I went for a walk through my novel.
By that I mean I visited the actual place where it is set - the North York Moors around Farndale and Rosedale. It’s been a long time since I had a good wander around up there, although it was a major part of my growing up. I have been writing it into my novel this year purely from memory and from similar (but not really) scenery in my now local South Pennines.
As we drove across the moors this morning I began to have second thoughts. Was this really such a good idea? Would my fiction crumble to dust when confronted with the reality? Would my plot become a geographical impossibility? Would I have to relocate it to Devon?
When we arrived I was overwhelmed, partly by how much I had accurately remembered (including the location of roads and markers) but also by how much I had forgotten. The place in heavy fog is even more atmospheric than I recalled and is completely fitting for the magical realism elements of my novel. I spent a long time in the freezing fog scribbling in my notebook and touching the real things - such as the waymark stones - that have been fiction for me for twelve months. In the shifting mist and silence (broken only by the maniacal cackling of the grouse) I lost track of what was real and what was fiction and I just knew that I had chosen the right location.
One of the central elements of my story (yes this super secretive writer is actually going to give something away here!) is the waymark stone known as Fat Betty.
I have this picture of it pinned above my desk and I have strong memories of visiting it as a teenager but actually being there was fantastic. I even got hubby to re-enact one of the scenes there - with partial success. (Interestingly the stone is about half as tall as I remembered it - chest height on a man not head height (maybe my boyfriends were smaller then :o)).
So definitely a successful reconnaissance and we rounded it off with lunch in one of my favourite pubs- The Red Lion at Blakey Ridge. It doesn’t feature properly in the novel, but its car park does and amazingly it was just as I’ve described it (amazingly as my memories are based around teenage trips up there on Friday nights with a designated driver while the rest of us drank cider.)
Very glad I took the plunge and did some proper research. Can’t wait to get on with the edit tomorrow.