Nov. 11th, 2009

Yesterday's research trip was excellent for my novel, but bad for my bank balance and my confidence in my novel.

I visited St Bartholemew's Hospital, the Globe Theatre and the Museum of London, and bought a copy of John Stow's Survey of London, and maps of London from 1520 and 1666. It's a bit irritating that they didn't have one from nearer 1610, but they are still very useful when supplemented with Stow and other sources.

Today I've done no writing but a lot of research, and uncovered lots of useful things, not least how much more research I'm going to need to do - a depressingly large amount. I enjoy research, but I enjoy writing more, and I'm concerned I won't be able to finish in the timescale I set myself. I'm wondering whether I'm cut out for historical novels at all.

I need to get myself down to the National Archives, to have a look at some real cases of disputed wills. My entire plot centres around a disputed will, so I need to get it right. I'm unclear whether that will help with some of the really basic stuff though, like who could act on behalf of a minor who is in a dispute with one of his two guardians about which of them (i.e. the guardian or the minor) should inherit an estate. Can he bring a case himself? Does the other guardian have to do it? What if the other guardian is out of the country and uncontactable? Can the court itself act on his behalf, and if so, how would that work?

The Chancery Proceedings page of the National Archives website says: "Suits are sometimes named In re Bloggs: these tend to be where the court is acting on behalf of someone incapable of acting for themselves: a minor, or a lunatic perhaps." So I think the last of these options is viable, but I have no idea how it would work in practice, or whether my vital plot device of Kit stumbling upon a friendly lawyer who wants to help, but turns out to have his own agenda, makes any sense.

Numerology

Nov. 11th, 2009 10:53 pm
When I was growing up, everyone I had a crush on was 33. I had a crush on Stephen Fry when he was 33, and I had a crush on Kenneth Branagh when he was 33. (And to be embarrassingly honest, I had crushes on most of the rest of the cast of Peter's Friends when they were 33 too).

Richard III died at 33, and so (allegedly) did Jesus.

The reason I fought to get these three months of work is that if I don't get my novel accepted for publication, or do something else fabulous while I'm still 33, I'll be really, really upset.

Anyway, I've just finished a draft of the spreadsheet which tells me what happens in each chapter, and entirely without fiddling, the story as I see it happens in 33 chapters.

Given that I don't do superstition,* it's silly that I'm quite as pleased about this as I am.



* My mind's the wrong shape for it, so I have to concentrate very hard to manage the Christianity thing, and there's no energy left for anything else.

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Catriona Mackay

November 2012

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