Friday, September 2, 2011


Now that Bink's story seems to be securely established and on course, Raymond has once more stepped into the spotlight.  And once he made his appearance, it was clear to me that his story now needed on-site research.  Raymond's story is set in a small seaside village around the turn of the century, where he and his guardian are spending their summer vacation, and where Raymond has at least three narrow escapes from certain death---at the hands (paws?) of the villain, of course.  The first and most obvious possibility would be a solo outing in a rowboat that has been tampered with, and that begins to sink when far from land.  But what else could happen to Raymond?  I knew that a visit to the actual scene would help my brainstorming.  I packed my cameras and sketchbook, and headed for a promising town.
A windmill, with its enormous moving sails, interior mechanisms, and huge grinding gears would certainly offer a villain numerous opportunities for evil.
A lighthouse is an obvious setting for potential injury (or worse).  Night-time would make it all the more nerve-wracking.
Although the railroad bridge no longer exists, its eroded abutments and a few piers are still clear.  What better way for a villain to get rid of a undesireable personage than by arranging for his prey to become stuck/stranded/tied down on the bridge just as the locomotive is coming around the bend?  Perhaps even with an engineer of imperfect vision?
There were extensive saltworks (wooden structures and machinery for extracting salt from sea-water) in this area, but they were abandoned and derelict by the time Raymond arrived.  And in my time there are not even any ruins left.  But I could use photographs from local libraries and collections as my reference.  And wouldn't collapsing structures of dark, dank, rotten beams and boards be a perfect place for a villain to attempt the worst?
Lastly, I actually found the summer hotel, now preserved as a museum, where Raymond and his guardian surely spent their summer vacation.  On my next visit I will even go upstairs, where I'm sure I will recognize Raymond's room, his guardian's room---and the villain's room as well.  My appetite is now whetted---I look forward to more detailed research...and to writing these scenes of pursuit and escape.