Researching on the ground

This morning I reached almost 7,000 words in ‘Adventure at the Palace of Varieties’. I think I may be nearing the halfway point with the plot as it will probably be about 15,000 words altogether. It has been quite difficult to re-capture the lighter style of the first two ‘Edwardian adventures’ as I know there is a really grim real-life event just about to happen in the story! It will be even worse later on if I take the characters forward into World War One as I am sort of planning to. But (a bit annoyingly as there are at least 2 more things to be written before that) I’ve had an idea for an interesting approach I can take to it.

Backstage tour ticket
Backstage tour ticket

There is quite a lot of information online about the Empire Palace of Varieties because of the grim event I’ve mentioned above, and some people reading this may already have heard of it. I won’t go into detail just now, but apart from doing internet research I often like to visit relevant places as I write. In this case I discovered I could get a ticket for a backstage tour of the Festival Theatre,  which is built on the site occupied by various theatres over the years, dating back I think at least to early or mid Victorian times. One of these theatres was the Empire Palace of Varieties, the setting for my story. Another more recent one was also called the Empire, but it ended its working life as a bingo hall, before the Festival Theatre was built in 1994.

As you will see from the picture, the earliest I can get a ticket for the tour is April, so I am hoping all the people who have bought tickets for February and March are not also researching for similar stories! I will have most of the thing written before then and indeed I hope to be well into ‘Pitkirtly IX’ at that point, but there will undoubtedly be some gaps I can fill in after the tour.

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