Well here we are in the second month of the year already!
Now I find myself saying this with real meaning to all and sundry, and when with retired clients and the subject comes up, they nod sagely as if to say ‘and it speeds up even more as you get older!’
So with this firmly in mind, I am making a big effort to move forward with the novel I am writing – working title ‘The Fight For Scotland’.
It is about Robert the Bruce and an ancestor of mine (perhaps) William Irving, who was the King’s armour bearer through the Scottish wars of independence.
After masses of research I have now moved on to writing several pivotal scenes and the feedback from a few fans of historical fiction has been very positive, which of course does help!
One of the side effects of being immersed in the era 1286 to 1314 is that ideas and plot variations keep popping into my head all the time. So I write this down and after a week of this it’s easy to have dozens of notes to sift through.
I am also reading books that are similar to what I am aiming for and it was a bit of a shock that one scene in particular was very similar to one I wrote quite a while back!
What I am finding is that in order to establish a character that the reader should like and be rooting for, there are certain common techniques. Of course I am also noticing this all the time now whereas before I was simply enjoying the story.
What is also true, as several authors have commented, is that the characters become very real to you, and you feel that you must do their story justice!
Keeping on the subject of the arts, I was able to visit a very interesting and unusual Theatre recently. It is called The Orange Tree, and is ‘in the round’.
After seeing clients around Ealing in London, I drove over to Richmond and met a friend there to see the classic farce ‘Sauce For The Goose’ by Georges Feydeau who wrote around a century ago.
It was excellent, with the audience literally right next to the action, and with only 172 seats it created a very intimate atmosphere.
The performance had lots of laughs and was incredible value for London at £20 a ticket. If you are a theatre fan it is well worth having a gander (sorry) at other productions!
My daughter Charlotte is also into acting and is appearing in our village production of ‘The Sound of Music’ as a nun.
Things seem to be going well and she has being rehearsing regularly for 3 months now.
The shows are next week so fingers crossed.
Back to the history theme and did you see the TV show about archaeologists finding the grave of Richard 111?
It was found after a lot of detective work using old maps and the theory that the King was buried in Greyfriars Church.
This led them to a car park in Leicester city centre and the exact spot where the skeleton was found was just 3 feet under a parking bay with the capital letter R on it!
Incredible, you couldnt make it up!
Hats off to the team who presented the story and evidence.
The findings were:
Yes, he had a crooked back
No, he didn’t have a withered arm
He had appalling head injuries resulting from the Battle of Bosworth Field
His body was stabbed after death, probably as he was paraded through the streets of Leicester
He had fairly thin bones with some feminine characteristics
His DNA was a match to two descendants
They even reconstructed the skull and presented us with what he actually had looked like. It was not dissimilar to the famous painting we would all associate with him, although definitely less cruel looking.
We must remember I suppose that history is usually told by the victor and the Tudors felt it important to demonise Richard to help hide the fact that Henry Tudor’s claim to the throne was not a good one.
This demonisation continued into Elizabeth 1′s reign with Shakespeare famously having a go as well!
In fact Richard seemed to be an enlightened king for the Fifteenth Century. He:
Introduced bail and stopped the intimidation of juries
Set up a council of advisors that diplomatically included Lancastrian supporters, traditionally his enemies
Administered justice for the poor as well as the rich
Introduced posting stations for royal messengers between the London and the north
Encouraged the importation of books
Had laws written in English instead of Latin so that ordinary people could understand their own laws
Quite a list!
You can read about the discovery of the grave of Richard 111 here.