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Retreat, Retreat!

I wrote this yesterday but as the internet is often ‘on retreat’ itself, I couldn’t post it last night, so this is the first of 2 posts today.

I am currently on a Writer’s Retreat, courtesy of Jenny and Alison at Imagine and have found myself retreating in more ways than one. My primary intention in booking a place on the retreat was to give myself the opportunity to finish my first book for adults. I started this book at the beginning of the MA course two years ago and wanted to go back and finish it off before I started anything new. I also wanted to go back over my first draft of the children’s book I wrote over Lockdown (the third in the Isle of Legends series). Much to my surprise, given that a normal ‘good’ day of writing consists of 2,500-3000 words, since I arrived at 4pm on Monday, I’ve written over 6000 words and the first draft of Unforgettable (working title) is now complete at just over 88,000 words. My next task should be to edit the other book I’ve brought with me.

(To be fair - it's difficult not to be inspired when this is the view from your window!)


I have now found myself drawn back to a book I began writing about ten years ago. My original intention was to set the book in a completely fictional version of Warley Place as that was where I had the original idea. However, the idea stalled within 30,000 words and although I loved the characters I’d created, I didn’t like their names and the story was turning into a ghost story, which I didn’t really want it to be and there was no real thread between the three strands of the narrative. In short, it wasn’t very good. Consequently, it got semi-abandoned and left in a drawer for a decade. Since I’ve been here at Northmoor House though, little snippets of ideas have started to permeate my consciousness and I’ve found myself going back to this book and thinking about ways in which I could resurrect it. There’s no fully formed idea as yet, but I am starting to see a way through the mess I’d created to the kernel of what could be a decent novel.

My intention tomorrow is to explore the grounds of the house and find out more about my Victorian heroine in the process. With my wellies and waterproof coat, I’m not exactly evoking the spirit of the nineteenth century, but I’m very much hoping that I’ll be able to capture some of it as I walk through the wet grass of the Ladies Perambulation!

Perhaps if I’m really lucky, by the time I leave here on Friday, I’ll have a semblance of a plan to take home with me…

I’ve also retreated on my walking challenge. Not in the sense of going backwards, but in terms of the books I’ve been listening to. I’m currently in Dorset with The French Lieutenant’s Woman and have arrived at Durdle Door, I should be writing a short story set there, but being on retreat I'm focusing on other projects this week and as I'm so close to Dulverton, it was too good an opportunity to miss and this afternoon I paid a visit to Lorna Doone country and found her statue, complete with a fresh posy of flowers.

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