Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gravestones in the snow

I haven't blogged recently because I have been frantically trying to complete the first draft of The Demons of Ghent. In early November it was going so well, and I was convinced that I would have the book finished by early December, leaving me ample time to do a few edits of my own before sending it off to my editor in time for Christmas. It didn't really work out like that! Just before Christmas there are always a lot of things that eat into working time (like buying presents, bah humbug), and even worse, I realised towards the end of November that the ending of the book wasn't working. I deleted 9,600 words and wrote it all again, and I hope that the new version is much better, but better or not, it was certainly later.

I am pleased to say however that last Thursday I sent off the MS to my editor. Whilst she is reading it I am catching up on everything else. There is always the spectre of the horrible possibility that she may hate some aspect of it and I may need to do high-speed extensive rewrites, so I thought as well as catching up on admin etc this week I would also do a few things for myself whilst I have the free time. Which is a very long winded excuse for taking a morning off and visiting a cemetery (yes, I know how to have a good time...).

It is probably an appalling admission, but up until yesterday I had no idea that there was a very large cemetery in Crieff. It's on Ford Road, which is a dead end road on the other side of town, and I have never had any reason to go down there, which is why I had never stumbled on it. However, this week there was an article about it in the Strathearn Herald. I don't normally read the Herald either, but as it happens there was a photo in it this week of my recent visit to Morrison's Academy to run story writing workshops, so I bought it for that. I was intrigued to see a front page headline reading "The strangeness that is Crieff." Who could resist that?!

The article is all about local man David Cowan's research into ley lines, which the Herald is publishing in that issue (18th January) and the next one. Whether you are into ley lines and Masonic symbolism or not, it makes interesting and entertaining reading. My main reaction was, wow, there is a huge cemetery and I haven't seen it! I couldn't resist going down to visit it as soon as possible.

As you can see, it looks splendidly sombre, especially in the current deep snow. This more than made up for the fact that many of inscriptions on the gravestones were obscured with snow and ice. I shall have to make a visit in warmer dryer weather to take a proper look at them. I did see one belonging to a lady whose first name was Hughina! I've never come across that before.

I don't know whether the cemetery will ever feature in any of my future writings, but as I may have mentioned before, I love to visit atmospheric places - old castles, churches, graveyards - as often they do provide inspiration. I still have another book set in Flanders to write (Urban Legends, the final book in my upcoming trilogy set in Belgium), but after that I shall be looking for new locations, so you never know...!

If you are interested in reading the story from the Herald but are not in the Strathearn area, you can read it on their website here:
David Cowan article in the Strathearn Herald

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