Starting writing again

Pedro Alvarez, director of GTC, serving cake at the ORM BBQ
Everybody loves cake!

August was so busy that I had to stop writing, and then I had to catch up with housework (at least sorta kinda catch up) before my son’s birthday party. But now most of the really urgent stuff has been done, and I can start work on the novel again. And in a burst of unusually nice timing, I have some information I can use.

I realised a while ago that I needed another murder. This is great. I really enjoy murdering people (as long as it’s fictional).

The whodunnit takes place in the fictional Stephen Hawking Telescope which is remarkably similar to the William Herschel Telescope. That way I get a ready-made telescope with totally fictional staff. I can’t use real telescope personel, now can I?

Tourists are usually surprised to learn that observatory staff mostly work days, and much of the novel uses day-shift work as a background, but it seems a bit daft to have a novel about an observatory and never have anything happen at night. So I wanted to kill someone at night. Besides, it’s gets creepy at night. And I already had a character who was due for the chop who’d be working at night. Cool.

The catch was that he’d be working in a part of the telescope I hadn’t visited for about 12 years. So I asked for, and got, permission to have a quick look around on Thursday. I’m glad I did, because my memory was badly wrong and the murder I’d planned wouldn’t have worked. I had a wonderfully gruesome conversation discussing other possibilities with tech staff.

Friday was the observatory barbaque at El Pilar, where most of the staff from the telescopes meet to socialise and eat paella and cake. They don’t invite guides as such, but my husband works inthe TNG, so I got to go. It’s fun, and a good chance to pick up gossip for future editions of the guide book to the observatory. And to be honest, I was hoping to line up some beta readers for the novel. (Read it, and tell me which bit are confusing/boring/gripping/factually wrong/gross out.) As it turned out, word had spread that I was planning to murder people in the telescope, and I got an absolutely brilliant suggestion for how to do it, plus a couple of volunteers for beta readers.

Now I just need to get back into the groove.

DIY music  at the ORM BBQ
DIY music at the ORM BBQ

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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