It was an emotional wedding. Even the cake was in tiers.
Blurty – which I am currently proofreading – was never intended to be part of a series. Now it is!
Or I should say, it’s on the way to being so, as I’m currently working away on a sequel. It’s probably more fun than it should be getting back into the world of Blurty and I gotta say, I’m enjoying it immensely.
After picking at a start, on and off for quite a while, the past month has seen work commence properly and we’re now at 10K. Writing daemon is feeling very pleased with himself.
It’s also the first time I’ve truly multi-project-ed for a while. Blurty’s Sister (as I’m going to refer to it) is running in parallel to continued work on Indestructible (as this year’s other new novel is called). I’m flipping between them effortlessly, which is nice.
Just to mix it up, I also re-read PAR again! Mind you that’s so a friend and I can project swap for some unusually early draft feedback. I do need to take out some notes-to-self from the text before I inflict it on someone else…
I have had a productive winter.
Day 7 was awesome. I don’t even know what else to say about it. IT. WAS. AWESOME.
Why? Well, after our foiled attempt to pre-buy tickets for the Snowdon Mountain Railway when we were in Llanberis, this was the day we decided to go do it. The weather forecast was perfect and we had nothing else in the itinerary… Except I realised we could probably go for a spin down the Llyn Peninsular too – which had never been in the itinerary – forming a pre-Llanberis detour!
The Llyn Peninsular is just below Anglesea and Holyhead, and while it doesn’t have too many landmarks to visit, it is incredibly pretty. First stop though, was Dinas Dinlle where a hill fort once looked out over the pebble beach.
We roamed the peninsular, stopping at beaches and generally enjoying the scenery.
Then at the end of the peninsular is an island that was once a pilgrimage site for Christians that, for a while, was considered equal to visiting Rome in terms of getting off lightly on your sinning! We didn’t go to the island, but we did enjoy a delicious cream tea in Aberdaron just opposite it.
Now, because the Snowdon Mountain Railway was just so good, I’m going to separate out those pics for another post (or this would turn into a scroll-fest!). At 1085 metres, Mt Snowdon has killer views!
Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Once we were done staring at all the pretty on the Llyn Peninsular, we went back to Llanberis and that was great in itself, because the lake and the mountains around it make it the definition of picturesque. Oh, and there’s a giant Excalibur sticking out of a rock beside the lake because of a (tenuous) link to that legend.
Seeing the lake from the other side to where the railway took us was fantastic. Particularly in the sunshine which, with dappling clouds, made the mountains look amazing. (Yes, I’m running out of superlatives for this post…)
We had a bit of a wait before we got our mountain train so I revisited the dragons in the gift shop and took pics of the service just coming back down from the peak! Some are steam engines and some aren’t (ours wasn’t) and they’re all different. Train geekout!!!!!
So then we went up the mountain, past sheep (to a certain height) and hikers (all the way up – it’s a big hiking area) and other trains. Our train was 90% a tour group who were having a jolly time singing and chatting away. I’ll admit was a bit obsessed with trying to photograph everything we saw. Even the sheep.
We stopped for a bit at the summit and wandered around, before doing the return journey and getting to get the other side of the carriage so we’d see everything! Twas worth it.
Then there was time spent adopting a dragon whose name is “Swordwing”, though I decided he should be called “Adain Cleddyf” which is sword wing in Welsh. For short I just call him Cleddyf (sword).
Finally we did a scenic drive back to Caernarfon through more peaks and lakes. So satisfying for the eyeballs.
Funny thing was there’d been a food festival on in Caerarfon all day so we knew we might have trouble finding parking and dinner when we got back… well. Not only did Claudia spend the night quite some distance from us, but we tried six restaurants before we found one that had space! And that was late too.
But what a day. Soooo much pretty!
August book club was to celebrate a clubber’s birthday and to discuss Eleanor Oliphant is Fine, by Gail Honeyman. It was an excellent meeting, and I thought the book was great. Mind you, I would like to shoot the blurb writer for making it sound like a much happier story than it was! Thankfully, you get a sense of how dark a place you’re going pretty early on.
I thought the story was well constructed, the characters great and it was an interesting journey to take a protagonist on. Definitely see why people like it.
There were just two things in it that bugged me. One was that Eleanor’s life starts to change the moment she gets a makeover… sigh. Not as objectionable as in some books and films, but seriously?
The other was a really odd thing.
At one point we see what a social worker wrote about Eleanor as a child and the man’s name was Brocklehurst. Now I’ve only ever seen that name once in fiction – in Jane Eyre – so it really caught my eye. I guess you might have used it if you knew a person/place called Brocklehurst but in the context of taking a child from a family (which he does in Jane Eyre) it was jarring.
Then, I noticed the family’s name was Reed and the children’s names were the same as the Reed family in Jane Eyre. So at that point Gail Honeyman was 100% referencing that famous text. But why?
A few pages later you see that Eleanor is a Jane Eyre fan. But why?
Given the immersive nature of the narrative, these points yanked me out of the story like cold water down the back. And they had no pay-off. They led no where.
It was odd.
For a while now, I’ve been puzzled by why my brain – so very well attuned to novels as a form – just doesn’t feel comfy with screen writing. I mean I love movies and I love narrative and I’m not big on writing setting, so shouldn’t it be a natural fit?
I’ve realised recently though that the reason might be very simple. My writing daemon often stops me doing things when he knows we aren’t ready to, and I suspect he’s been doing that here. I think he recognised something about screen writing that I didn’t. It requires planning. That thing which is anathema to me and my daemon.
This revelation led to an interesting question: Can a pure pantser like myself ever come at creating a screenplay? Maybe. Jury is still out on that. I do have some sneaky pantser ideas on how to tackle it, so we’ll see.
To inspire daemon and I to finally have a go, I’m doing a screen writing short course at a local university. I figure that I might as well hang out with a bunch of movie lovers and creative sorts while discussing movies a lot, even if I never write a screenplay. It cannot possibly be a bad way to spend a Thursday night.
We had the most beautiful sunshine this day – a lovely change after the rain – and it meant that, whatever else we got up to, we wanted to pop back across to Anglesea. Great thing about a relaxed itinerary is having the space to revisit, I think!
But first, we had breakfast at our very funky B&B which sat just inside the city walls (literally 20 metres from one of the “gates”). Then we wandered out into the old town within the wall and, with a few shops to look at on the way, we ended up at Caernarfon Castle.
I liked the castle. You could go into underground rooms or up along the walls and the big open space in the middle was grassy and full of information about what once would have been in this corner or that. There is also a military museum there and, before we were done, a choir turned up and used the wonderful acoustics to do a bit of singing! My travel buddy walked the walls a bit, but I was too chicken.
Across from the castle, we poked about in one of the tourist shops and hilariously we both decided not to buy something there, on the assumption all tourist shops would have the same stuff (they certainly did in Scotland). It actually took us a week to find another shop with the same things!
So then we retrieved Claudia from the harbour parking and headed out to Anglesea again. This time, we decided to make a small detour on getting to the island and see probably the most famous place in Wales… the one with the crazy long station name. In truth, the town’s name was long enough!
Then we were back up to Holyhead and the lighthouse. I also went for a wander on the headland, looking for a cairn, but the signs never tell you how far they are from the starting point so I gave up. *Sigh* Still, we visited the cairn we’d overlooked on the previous visit, at the last of four beaches we saw in the sparkling light!
I’m glad we went back to the islands in the sunshine, because it is really very pretty.
And we finished our day with one of the best meals of the whole trip, back in Caernarfon. It was great to be in a restaurant where most of the patrons were Welsh and speaking Welsh!