Another week of National Novel Writing Month is drawing to a close and I’m still writing and making daily updates. I am currently at 35170 words, which means I am 70% of the way to 50000 words. Ideally, I’ll get the word count up to 75 to 80000 before publication. I am loving writing the story and when not writing I am thinking about it and that can only help improve the subsequent drafts, though I’m still trying not to edit as I go. Given the difficulties I was having with my previous work in progress, I am surprised at how easy I’m finding this one. This is clearly the story I should have been writing all along.
There are several scenes which will require some in-depth research to ensure I get the historical details correct. In the past, I would have let this distract me from the writing the story. It’s one of the reasons Black Feather took so long to write. I felt completely overwhelmed with the amount of research I needed to do for my first novel, but for now, I am merely adding a note in the margins and ploughing on. So far, my research list includes such topics as bee keeping, World War 1 field hospitals and convalescent homes, piloting first world war aircraft, the mechanics of time travel, and early twentieth century cameras.
Last week I mentioned the obstacles that Maddie and Alex will have to face as their relationship progresses. Now that they have found each other and become a couple, I have to force them apart again. Just when they think they’ve reached their happily ever after, Maddie’s ex appears and ruins everything. In a fit of jealousy he sets fire to the house, and although Alex rescues Maddie, he finds himself back in 1917 at the point at which he first made his wish to leave the real world and live in the house, and Maddie is now stuck in the present not knowing whether Alex is alive or dead or whether she will ever see him again.
As this is Remembrance Sunday, it’s only right that I should mention the real life World War 1 pilot who is the inspiration behind Lieutenant Alex Marshall.
Lieutenant Arthur Percival Foley Rhys-Davids was one of the bravest pilots serving on the front in 1917. He had been about to go to Oxford, but instead had to go to war. He chose to join the Royal Flying Corps and was awarded the MC and Bar and the DSO (Military Cross twice and the Distinguished Service Order medals) during the six months he flew with 56 Squadron. On the 27th October 1917, just one month after his 20th birthday, he was shot down and killed. His body was never recovered.