That seemed to take forever, but I think it was because I was adding so much stuff on the way. Its the longest story so far, but I think it holds interest all the way through – will have to see what the first readers of it have to say on that and everything else.
I still feel like I need to speak more to the beginnings of a relationship between Benjamin Charles and Portia, but I am looking for reasonable places to insert that character development.
NOTE: Rethinking Benjamin Charles’ name.. seems too plain to me.
I also need to do some more research into guns and fashion in the 1930s (which, now that I think about it, is a much better title for this blog post, so I’m changing it!).
I’m thinking the Luger P08 Pistol might be reasonable for Portia to start carrying (in book 5, already started) but it might be too big or have too much recall, I need to know more about it. Certainly, it seems readily available at the time, and was still a popular sidearm into the second world war.
Ideally, I would want a pistol that I could link some kind of history to (though not as having belonged to her grandfather’s (Webley’s No.2 .320 calibre bore) but one I can link backwards at some point. I’d like it to be as easy to use as possible, with bullets readily available in London, but knowing so little about guns, I’m going to have to depend on the internet, and your help dear readers to sort it all out.
So draft 1 of Book 4 is done! Phew! Working title: The Invisible Box… not loving that, but rolling it around in my brain while I start transcribing the story, and you have to have a filename… so let’s go with that one for now.
EDIT: How about Thrice Burned instead?
I like the ending, which is surprising because I was worried about it all the way up until I wrote it, but I don’t think it was too convoluted, so we’ll see how it is received.
But there is a whole bunch of key stuff that’s going to have to be inserted into the middle for that ending to make sense.
Still working on learning about Portia’s London, so I started a map (available here).
In Book 4 she makes her way out to a farm that has recently been burned to the ground. I need it to be in Sheep-farming land, so I picked Sussex county as a location where Southdown sheep grazed. Read more about Sussex county on Wikipedia here.
The Chalk Downlands (also called the South Downs) area seems to be decent farmland for sheep farming.
The Amberley railway station was built in 1923, so she could have taken a train from Victoria station in London to Amberley to get to the Coombs farmhouse. It would have taken about an hour to get there.
There was this product called 20 Mule Team Borax made in the States and ‘commonly available’ for usage as a household cleaner.
Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.
Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound for fiberglass, as an insecticide, as a flux in metallurgy, a texturing agent in cooking, and as a precursor for other boron compounds.
Interestingly, there was a lot of arson going on in the early 1900s but the angle I wanted to pursue was the accelerant. Turns out that is the wrong term to use for what makes the fire burn..
Some fire investigators mistakenly use the term “accelerant” to mean any substance that initiates and promotes a fire without differentiating between an accelerant and a fuel. The terms are not, in the truest sense of chemical science, interchangeable. To a chemical engineer, “gasoline” is not at all considered an “accelerant”, it is more accurately considered a “fuel”, but usage by laymen is considered popularized if incorrect.