NaNo, NaNoWriMo, research, Uncategorized

Exhilarating research for a story!

I find myself in different waters as a writer ((well you live on a boat now Peachy, so nice pun)) I mainly write fiction and the stories have always been sitting there in my mind waiting patiently for me to put them on paper/screen. I’ve had to research some bits and bobs to make sure it’s believable but I haven’t written anything where I’ve had to deal with historical facts and need to weave them into my fictional story.

The story I’m writing at the moment is part of a book for my latest project with the Fosseway Writers. Members in the group are each choosing a different building in Newark and writing a story about it. I’ve chosen St Mary Magdalene’s church, which might seem like an odd choice for someone who is not religious in any way. Interestingly I’d chosen this building before I’d moved onto a boat ((Peachy stop talking about your boat, I think everyone knows by now. It’s nice you’ve finally found an interesting fact about yourself though)) and the tower/spire is now my constant location marker as I can see it from the bow of my boat.

As part of my research, I had the opportunity to go on the roof of the church. Now in my naivety I didn’t think this would be one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve had in a long time but it was, even more terrifying than sitting on the edge of a plane waiting to jump out when I did a skydive. Even more terrifying than walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks in one day.

((I suggest you make yourself a cuppa before you settle in for this story. Peachy is never lost for words that is for sure))

So, one Monday lunchtime I escaped from work to head to the church to meet my friend, as I was waiting inside for my friend to arrive, I suddenly saw the Church Warden running through the church, I thought surely this is not how they treat a non-believer, sure he was going to chase me out of the place where anyone should be welcome. It turns out he was actually chasing a squirrel out of the church! I might add he did an excellent job as well. Apparently, it’s not good when they climb up things in a church.

Anyway, friend met and the lovely church warden now giving us his full attention, we were taken to the stone steps which would lead us to the roof. We were given some instructions which amounted to be careful when ascending the very narrow and winding stone steps in the dark with a rope to hold which only reaches part way up. Off we went and I must admit it was slightly worrying thinking that if you missed a step in these conditions there would be painful consequences. But anything in the name of proper research.

We reach the roof and wow, absolutely stunning views of Newark, the gardens, marketplace and surrounding buildings. Amazing to be up close and personal with the various carved stones. Interesting fact, which does make sense, one side is more open to the weather than the other so the carving are more worn. I’ve included some pictures below – some very interesting ones! I think there must have been some stone masons with a great sense of humour!

The church warden was an excellent guide and told us so much about the building including the fact that it costs approx £500 per day to maintain etc. I thought at this point, all very enjoyable and useful for my story but then we were asked did we want to go up onto the next part of the church which involved climbing up a very shaky metal ladders which was not made for short legs and when you get to the top and the stone gullies dip about a foot – but hey ho, it’s go over or go down. This latest terrifying experience over, we look again at the wonderfully carved stone faces and various other interesting metal footprints (see pics) and then we are asked if we want to look at the other side. ((At this point Peachy I would have thought you would have answered no thank you but…)) yes, I (we) said yes alright!

So, it was swing the short legs over another very high, shaky and dodgy ladder and onto another roof. I did wave at an ant – which was actually a human being but we were very high up but then decided maybe that wasn’t a good idea. The stained glass windows were stunning and I think I could have spent all day looking at them but since I only had my lunch hour for this amazing and terrifying experience we moved on. You guessed it – up the high, shaky, dodgy ladder, walk over the roof and back down the high, shaky, dodgy ladder, over the roof and then halfway down the dodgy, small, stone, dark staircase and onto another roof. Yes, he did ask us if we wanted to go on top of the part, I cannot remember the name of and we said yes! ((I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this Peachy but maybe you should avoid writing anything which involves research!))

Finally, back on firm ground we look at a few more windows and the church warden points out some more very useful facts and stories. We look at a stone carved mermaid and then it’s time for me to head back to work with rather dusty leggings, shaking legs and a big grin because life is sometimes about making yourself scared.

All in all, a brilliant experience and I’m looking forward to going back. My story is coming along nicely and I just need some more time for writing and research.

I’ve made great progress on my fantasy novel book 3 and it’s nearly ready to upload for the first proof copy. I’m also waiting on some new covers for the trilogy so that’s very exciting! It’s a lot harder to fit everything in now I’m working 4.5 days a week and we are still renovating the boat.

Right, that’s me signing off until next time. I’m hoping to do NaNo next month so find me on there if you want a NaNo Buddy ((I love your optimism at doing NaNo Peachy. Bordering on stupid but I love it.)) 

Take care and keep writing 😊 x

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