The online diary of a dreamer creating Contemporary Romantic Fiction - because Every Woman needs Love and Laughter in her Life.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The writer's brain

Are all writers magpies? Collecting snippets of trivia and images from whatever and wherever. People watching becomes research. Gossip heard in shops and on trains - especially mobile phone conversations. Does anyone truly believe that these are private?
Key thing? Cultural reference points which will make your work real.
For Historical Fiction - this is crucial.
Did anyone see the South Bank Show the other night which followed Ken Follett as he researched his sequel to his most successful book ever, Pillars of the Earth, which was about the building of a cathedral in Britain in the Middle Ages?
One takeaway moment? The cathedral designers/builders HAD NO PAPER.
So they drew/scratched out the design of stained glass windows and stonework on a floor of wet plaster which was then recovered for the next design. And some of these scratchings still exist.
Did Ken Follett use this detail as a plot point? Of course he did.
I love contemporary fiction and the detail which makes it come alive.
E.g. I was in a very nice restaurant and noticed that the two couples at the table next to me were not talking very much - because they spent most of their meal texting on their mobiles.
This was a city Italian restaurant with a fab interior and atmosphere -and these folk in their 30s had come to be together for a meal = and they spent their time texting other people, chatting for the few minutes when they needed to actually eat the food.
Or were they texting eachother?
Will I use this detail? Quite possibly. Is it even vaguely romantic?
So you know someone who got dumped in a text message? By e-mail?
Proposed to in a text message? In an e-mail?
There are some great rom comedies to be written about the western culture of seperation and connection in the physical and virtual worlds.

What's playing on my YouTube right now? North and South


Kate Hardy said...

Ooh, I didn't know that about the cathedral builders. I just assumed they used vellum. How INTERESTING. Did he say where these scratchings survive? (Yes, of course I want to see them.)

In Norwich Cathedral, there are letters from the founder which criticise the way the builders work. A thousand years ago... and the same kind of thing that's said nowadays.

Thanks for sharing. I'm going to squirrel that little titbit away.

Ray-Anne said...

Hi Kate - yes, it was fascinating.
It was York Minster - there is a whole room with big windows where the master mason drew on the floor. And the occasional foot print and dog paw print left in the mortar!

Ken's new book is out this week - 'World without end' - might be worth a look see.
He talked with a York Minster historian called John David about how the tower collapsed and the foundations of York Minster had to be rebuild in raft style etc. -which you probably already knew. He uses the same scenario in his book.
The floor scratchings referred to the Lady chapel which was the last thing to be made.
Have fun!

Ray-Anne said...

Kate you have me on a roll now - it seems that there are only two of these 'tracing floors' left in the UK - Wells and York Cathedrals.

Have fun in both - LOL and sorry to divert you from work at hand.