Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tourists In Our Home Town

School in-service day today (what the hell is that?) so we took advantage of the mild weather for a family day out. We took a tour round the city in an open topped bus (Laura's idea). It was sunny at first, then windy, then it rained. I was left on my own in the open part of the upper deck as the rain came pouring in. I braved it out but it was good fun. Even better was when the sun came out again five minutes later and I had the only dry seat left on the top deck.

The route took us along Princes Street, up to Toll Cross, through the Grassmarket around the Old Town, down to Holyrood and that big Council farce of a building, under Arthur's Seat (but anyone can sit there), back into town and down to the New Town. We filmed some of it as we went and it was good fun, though none of it entirely surprising.

Most of the other people on the bus were either elderly or Chinese and the on-board commentary was uninspiring with the odd token joke thrown in lined with "I'm fed up repeating this same old crap."

When it was over we stopped in Princes Street gardens and ate our lunch under the semi-warmth of the sun. Then we decided to go and see the Fizzers exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. There we saw hundreds of caricatures of iconic Scottish figures past and present. Laura had been given a quiz sheet in which she had to find the people described by reading the plaques next to the frames. Needless to say I ended up doing most of it, running around looking for pictures in amongst all the other school kids. I'm such an embarrassment, you know.

Both of these activities formed a great way to have a family outing. Culture, local interest and outdoor eating. They also served as excellent research for July's Scruffy Dog Review column.

After dinner I worked on Hunting Jack. I have reached the point where the new chapter has to be written and inserted seamlessly into the plot. The ripples behind the action are minimal as there is a logical link, but the after-effects will spread far and wide and change the entire taste of the story as it concludes, compared to the original version.

There isn't as much research as I had originally planned because when I came to do it I realised that when Jackie researches the Ice-Cream Wars of 1983, he will be doing it in much the same way as I did for this novel. The only real difference is the location. And so the intricate weaving of the new text has begun. I've no idea how many words this will finally contribute to the end tally, both directly and indirectly, but it is bound to have a large impact on the rest of the tale. Of course there is always the possibility that a new character walks into his life that I had not planned (as with Vic and Derek Laidlaw - both of them just "happened"). That would really put the spanner in the works!

Colin 1:50 pm


But those unexpected characters who wander in are such fun!

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