Image of the week – not for the faint-hearted…

I can hardly believe it’s 2 months since I finished my first draft of the sequel to Turn of the Tide and began the editing process. How far have I got? Well…

I have gone right through my ‘red letter’ editing, researching and checking facts, and as expected it was (mostly) fun, with just the odd (but often very time-consuming) frustration when I struggled to find exactly the right piece of information as well as the occasional need to re-write a chunk of the story to bring it in line with what I had discovered.

Most interesting (if not exactly pleasant) fact? The method of killing of witches in Scotland in the late 16th century. Unlike in England and (I think) a lot of Europe, Scottish witches weren’t hung. The reality was rather more horrible. First of all they were garrotted and then, whether still alive or not, were burnt. There were special garrotting chairs Screenshot 2015-05-16 07.04.51 which had a tall back with a metal band which was put around the victim’s neck and progressively tightened. It appears that those executing them didn’t worry too much about whether the person had just lost consciousness or was dead before they moved on to the final stage. The burning was often carried out by placing the victim(s) in a tar barrel – sometimes two or three folk were burnt together – economy of scale I imagine – and setting light to it. It could take up to 16 loads of peat to accomplish the task! It is to be hoped that most of the victims were dead before the burning was carried out.

And what does this have to do with the sequel? Now that would be telling…

Speaking of lengthy processes – I (perhaps foolishly) expected to finish the fact-checking edit within a couple of weeks. In fact it took a month, partly because I couldn’t resist doing some general editing as I went along. Hugely happy though to have cut almost 10,000 words in this first pass.

Next stage was meant to be looking for repetitions / favourite words or phrases that have been over-used, and so in the first edit I noted potential cuplrits and now have an A4 sheet with a (long) list to work through.

However I was side-tracked by the discovery that there is a point in the manuscript where something more is needed and I’m working on that at the minute… I now know what that final piece of the jigsaw will be, all I need to do is to write it!

Then I’ll return to my grand plan, hopefully by next week.