I have more or less worked out exactly HOW the house called Wythe’s End will appear as a character in the novel. A house has always felt alive to me. Our house, Henwoodie, is 100 years old. I have never lived in, nor could live in, a “new” house. I like to feel the character and history of a house.
I haven’t written any new chapters recently due to our travel schedule and still being in Dearborn looking after John after his nasty fall on the ice. BUT…I am revising the beginning of each of the 18 chapters already written to include the opening passages that center around Wythe’s End in order to set the tone and mood of the event(s) to be revealed in any given chapter.
It’s difficult NOT to write new chapters but until I finish another book deadline first I cannot, in all good conscience, allow myself to sit down with the Wythe family and catch up on all their activities and escapades.
I have also been watching a lot of old movies (film noir) just to be immersed in the wonderful story lines and settings. One of my favorites is: Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes”. This film, like Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” appeal to me simply because a great deal of the action takes place on a train!
When I first ventured to Europe in 1972 train travel was still mysterious and exciting and downright thrilling! I loved the old individual first class compartments that felt like safe rooms separated from the Outside World. I did quite a bit of writing on trains in Europe and the UK when I was young. There is something about the gently rocking motion of the train and being in a confined space that sparks the imagination.
Naturally enough, in my ‘larger’ writings there is almost always a train that makes an appearance. And in the case of “Wythe’s End” a narrow gauge private railroad plays an important role in the story as well.
I don’t travel by train in the U.S. because it’s not all that romantic or private. There are no First Class comfortable compartments with wood paneling and soft cushioned high back seats.
I drive one of the original Scion XB automobiles that I like to describe as a small “Belgian bread truck” kind of vehicle. I’ve driven this car for nearly 10 year and because we still commute back and forth between upstate New York and Dearborn, Michigan, it has come to feel like my own private First Class compartment for me and the pups.
Of course, I have to pay more attention to the actual driving, but the long drive back and forth allows me time to listen to wonderful audio books. I can listen while I drive without being too distracted.
I suppose what this rambling post is all about is the fact that, in my writing, the setting, the place, the house, the train…is as important a character in a story as are the people (and animals). It would be impossible for me to NOT think of a old house or an animals as not having a soul, having feelings, and having an affect on the other characters.
I hope I am successful in bringing Wythe’s End (the house) to life as I feel I have been with the people and animals that love the house as much as I do.