Hunting down those Kindred Spirits!

This weekend just gone, I took myself off down to London Town for a much-needed research visit to Westminster Abbey. Being 20,000 words into a first draft about the place, actually going there seemed a good idea…

I’m proud to say I was the first member of the public through the side entrance and into the Abbey on Friday morning, and one of the last to leave in the evening, after a service. It’s funny, I’d never really considered visiting Westminster until I touched on the idea of it as a ‘home’ for a Kindred Spirits tale. But with over 3,000 burials, including 17 monarchs, think of all those characters!

westminster

So my visit was entirely in the guise of working out what, of my draft so far, was right and what wasn’t. Turns out, I have plenty of editing to be getting on with – but better to spot this now!

The Abbey itself was a wonderful experience; every era since 1065 is represented, after all. From kings and queens, scientists, poets and statesmen, all the way through to the Abbey’s former plumber. And after a day of scribbling away, it was a privilege to attend Evensong, even getting a seat in the beautiful dark wood stalls of the quire. I confess I haven’t been a regular churchgoer since I was a child, but I’ve always loved the sound of the organ and choir, and it doesn’t get much better than in our national church. Walking out of the great door, passing the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, as the bells were chiming out, is something I’ll never forget.

And what about the writing? Well, I’m glad to report I have half a notebook of notes jotted down, and around 5,000 words of new scenes to get typed up and into place. More than that, I really got a sense of the place, which for me, wouldn’t have felt the same if I hadn’t visited.

Mind, it wasn’t just a sense of place that struck me… A sense of those buried in the Abbey truly came to life  too, in a very unusual way – but more on that next post…

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