Lucy and Mark have been in the thick of it recently, and my attempts to make sense of their situation has kept me busy.
There have been writes and rewrites, as I have attempted to bring Lucy and Mark back together despite Hitler’s precise orders to the contrary. The pairs’ journey from Blenheim to London has changed repeatedly – helicopter, plane and car. With Mengele; without him.
I’ve had Valentin Von Schmidt go after them to be shot and killed by Mengele; to arrive just in time to see the two of them vanish into the distortion. To arrive in the nick of time and then be killed by Mengele
None of it was working.
Was this writer’s block?
Well you know me: I googled. Originally, writer’s block was defined as an inability to produce new work. Well that’s not the problem, excerpts of the third book are bouncing around in my head.
I googled Scott Fitzgerald – one of the world’s most famous sufferers from writers’ block. And that wasn’t it. You see I’m under no illusions. My tales of Lucy and Mark are no Great Gatsby. I’m not unable to write because I think this work is inferior to what has gone before. So why? Was I making it too complex? Or not simple enough?
In the course of my reading, I discovered stress and other work related worries can cause block. But these guys came out of my head in response to the stresses of the so called real world. Those stresses haven’t changed. Dead end.
Eventually I decided that maybe my block was the consequence of not listening to what my characters were telling me about one person in particular… Valentin Von Schmidt
You see, I’d got it in my head that Von Schmidt was fundamentally a good guy. That he would be redeemed by a gallant act of bravery. But he’s not a fundamentally good guy.
But Von Schmidt is different. He’s a white blond, blue eyed Austrian in his late 40’s. His father was a diplomat at the court of Kaiser Wilhelm; his godfather was Bismarck. Before the war he was a doctor, in the Austrian Navy and rose rapidly through the ranks. By 1949 he’s a vice admiral. Frances Stephenson tells Lucy that he was with them in Llandudno in 1914. And suddenly the historians’ amongst you will see my problem. Bismarck died in 1898.
Now all I have to do is work out what is he lying about
2. His age
3. His godfather
all of the above…
or something else entirely?