Thursday, 17 September 2020

Storing up settings for winter - by Tracy Darnton

What with one thing and another (!) I'm behind on my work-in-progress. A deadline is looming and I'm on holiday followed around by a big cloud of guilt and reliant on patchy wifi to do anything work- related. My writing had already been shunted all summer to the end of a more pressing To Do list.  

In one of my school sessions I talk about all the different things I need to pour into my brain for my own creative writing to come out. My own input/output chart includes many things I haven't been able to access recently like live theatre, cinema, bookish chats with writing groups, snippets of strangers' conversations overheard on trains, museum exhibits, armfuls of books I've been able to concentrate on etc, etc. 

And, it turns out, a global pandemic and its many anxieties mess up the machinery no end. Output is stalled.

I'm pinning my hopes on setting to get the writing going. I'm back in the West Country taking pics of creekside settings and suitable houses for my next thriller. I'm hoping that 'seeing' and 'feeling' parts of my book will push me on with it. Cooped up in my city house for so many months has made it hard to picture beaches and sea and tidal river creeks and to remember all these places I thought I knew so well. 

But now all these places have a new importance to them too beyond their role as settings for the book. I'm saving up some 'good for the soul' moments and images to fortify me in the tricky winter months ahead. I'm topping up my creative brain but also 'me'. I need these mind memories of normality with my family, of the great outdoors, sandy toes, kayaks gliding on creeks, herons taking flight.

I hope you all found some moments this summer of your own to add to your store. I'll leave you with my one from last night: supper on a deserted beach with the kids, layered-up as the sea mist rolled in.

Tracy Darnton is the author of thrillers The Truth About Lies and The Rules, published in lockdown. She hopes to finish the next book one day soon. You can follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDarnton

1 comment:

Rowena House said...

I think you very wise for storing up these settings. Place is the one true visceral conntection to our story worlds (unless they're fantasy and even then...) I fear we're all going to feel trapped in one way or another before winter.