Tuesday 15 November 2022

I'm Writing a Gothic Horror Novel Set in South London

This month I'm doing more writing than I've ever done before. As well as keeping my blog updated, I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month and features a challenge to write 50,000 words of a work of fiction in the month of November. At exactly half way through the month I've got a little over 25,000 words typed - so half way to my goal.

The novel I'm writing is contemporary Gothic horror set in South East London. Here's a little excerpt from the book, describing a part of Crystal Palace Park, which is near where I live. The description itself is inspired by a walk I did at the weekend, and the picture on this post shows the gate.
There’s one area on my side of the park that is the site of a previous house and garden long gone, but I was less than certain it was the lodge from the picture I’d found. It’s now an area of woodland, almost wild, with some of the oldest trees in the park. A small gate at the perimeter, narrow but flanked by tall, ivy-covered brick columns, bears a plaque that reads The Vale. That’s what this area’s called, but I don’t really know why. The history book I got from Charles offered no clues. 
The Vale is overgrown. More ivy climbs over the low brick walls on either side of the gate and spills through the spear-like railings that top them. A sunken dirt path winds steeply up from the gate, ivy still covering the sides of the path before giving way to dense trees. In late autumn the path was covered in fallen leaves, some trodden into the dirt by feet like mine, but not that many. Few use this way to enter the park. 
In that misty grey late afternoon in November, the woods seemed darker and gloomier even than usual, the dim light made the leaves on the autumnal trees look dull and brown rather than golden, although a few shocks of red berries brightened the dark green of the hollies. There were also limes, sycamore, and oaks. David had told me some of them were old English oaks but there were also rarer oak species, even evergreen varieties, and a few lone strangers: a wych elm, a Bhutan pine and a massive yew that spread its own beautiful yet poisonous canopy wide and which nothing grew beneath. It seemed the kind of circle where the brigands and other miscreants of the old North Wood might have met, although in our century more used by teenagers sneaking into the park through holes in the walls late at night for whatever kicks they might prefer to enjoy without prying eyes. I could see the detritus of their gatherings too, here and there, cans and bottles and other things. I smiled, thinking of parties I might have snuck to myself in secret, when I was younger.
I'd like to add that it isn't the first novel I've written. My earlier manuscript is currently being considered by a publisher. I'll share any good news if I get it.

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