Saturday, 27 April 2013

Portsmouth City Council have ruined my book!

How could they do it?

In Paint Me a Picture I have several scenes set on the Round Tower in Portsmouth. When I wrote the book, the railings were tatty, steps worn, tarmac in a horrible state and the benches broken and uninviting.


'First though, would come the climb, onto the wall and over the dull silver safety rail. Once there, the worst would be over. She would choose a position where the outer rail was missing; very little remained of the rust pitted, blue painted metal. Mavis stood and walked to the wall. She imagined grasping the railing and hauling herself up. It would require effort, but she could manage. She could sit for a moment, longer if she wished, to compose herself.

 Then, she would slide forward, keep sliding forward until the solid grey stone, with its saggy wrapping of tarmac, was no longer beneath her. There would be the air and then the water and then nothing. Or perhaps she would stand? That might be better. She could stand right on the edge, poised neatly between life and death. She could stand, calmly waiting for the right moment and then step forward. Just one small step to the end she longed for. Or she could jump. She did not think she would jump. It did not matter; all that mattered was she climb and then fall. Then nothing would matter.'


Now just look at it! 

How could they? They're doing up the Square Tower too. It's not as though these places are important to me.

Of course the renovations haven't really ruined my book. Things change all the time and I'm sure if anyone were to read my book and realise the tower is now in better nick than I've described they'd guess why there's a discrepancy. 

Other writers might not be so lucky. Have you ever created, or read something that's really been ruined by changes that have taken place since it was written? 

If you've written a book that's not been ruined in this way you might be interested in this competition.

If anything you've written has been ruined in any way, you might want to plot the perfect murder and win themselves an Amazon voucher.

33 comments:

  1. Can't think of anything I wrote getting ruined... But I know that there was this huge sequence in Spider-man 1 that had to be cut post-9/11 because it was of him climbing and swinging between the twin towers...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The loss of the twin towers certyainly dates a lot of films, Misha.

      Delete
  2. I feel your pain. The vicarages I grew up in have ll changed - one has even shrunk, would you believe? and two others have been sold to yuppies , modernised out of existence, and had those lovely big gardens covered with more houses.
    At lease when I do write abour them, only my brother and sister will know I am tweaking the truth.!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My old junior school is now posh apartments, Lizy. It's just not right!

      Delete
  3. I can see from the link why the place is important to you - lovely to see the pictures of your wedding, Patsy as it was before I 'met' you. I can't think of anywhere that I've written about that has changed...so far anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope if it happens the change won't cause you a problem, Wendy.

      Delete
  4. You could think of it as providing a clear time setting for your book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true, Rob. Mentioning a place that's changed, or no longer there would be a good way to do exactly that.

      Delete
  5. Oh, that's awful! What were they thinking. :-P
    I love your wedding pictures, by the way. They are so neat. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! How dare they restore a national monument for all to enjoy ...

      Delete
  6. Nothing ruined so far, but when one uses real places in a novel (as I do), there's always the possibility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is. I suppose the same happens if we use real situations too. The end of the cold war made a whole genre of spy books obsolete.

      Delete
  7. Aww, aren't they meanies!

    Actually though, I think it adds a bit of *je ner say cwoi* to your book, Patsy. It's great as you have recorded a bit of historical detail that may never be seen again.

    Thanks for the links, btw.

    Regards,
    Debbie W

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Didn't know you spoke French, Debbie! (Actually I'm still not totally convinced)

      Delete
  8. This is why I usually like to make up cities and such for my projects--no chance of anything there being ruined, since it's all imaginary, anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making up absolutely everything does have advantages, Heather. I expect it comes with its own problems too though.

      Delete
  9. Never mind, Patst. The place as it was is now immmortalised in your book, which can't be bad!

    I make up my places, so no-one can take them away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, all that rust and neglect has been saved for posterity, Frances.

      Delete
  10. What lovely wedding photos, Patsy. I guess the Tower can't stop being a special place for you as it's in your book but it must still have been a bit of a shock when you found out what the Council had done. I can't think of any setting which I've written about that has been altered, but I hate it when people cut down trees saying it's progress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate it when trees are cut down too, Sharon.

      Delete
  11. That's both sad and funny.
    Just think, you've immortalized its former condition in your book.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Patsy .. well all I can say is thank goodness they're repairing our heritage .. just sorry about your book and its descriptive passages!!

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a good thing they're looking after these places, Hilary.

      Delete
  13. In some ways it's good to have a written record of some place or building before it changes forever. You should consider yourself up their with the ancient writers Patsy, like Plutarch etc who wrote about cities and places that no longer exist. But yes probably a bit annoying with contemporary writing as I'm sure there's always somebody who's going to complain about your 'inaccuracies'!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess people will work out what happened in this case, Tracy but if a pub changed it's name or something like that it would seem the writer had just got it wrong.

      Delete
  14. Perhaps you could add 'historical' to your description of Paint Me A Picture? And include the 'new' tower in your next book?

    ReplyDelete
  15. How annoying, but I like the idea of you preserving historical facts for the future.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I guess we all run that risk with real places - but it will let people know what it used to be like!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Pompey playing up again, but I guess the sailor could give the clean up a a thumbs up!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful wedding pictures Patsy! Perhaps you can turn the renovation into a great marketing opportunity for your book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Never mind Patsy, looking on the bright side, your story now has a historical interest.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for commenting!