First Hint of Autumn – WIPpet Wednesday

Place plays an important part in The Butterfly Storm. Although the novel is completely fictional, the time I’ve spent in Greece has greatly influenced the story. Another major setting is the UK’s north Norfolk coast, again a place I know well from many holidays and visits to my grandparents who lived there. For today’s WIPpet I’ve chosen another descriptive passage, mainly because any dialogue reveals too much of the story. These 15 lines from chapter 15  take place when Sophie is back from Greece staying in Norfolk at her Mum’s house. (Marcy is one of the barmaids at the local pub.)


After a cup of freshly brewed coffee, I take Marcy’s advice and walk up the road to Blakeney. It’s as if the place has come alive overnight. Cars rush past me filled with families off on Saturday morning outings. The hill I can see from the cottage is deceptive. It’s not steep but it steadily keeps on going up, winding round the corner beneath the shade of a wood before finally levelling off next to the church. I cross a main road and find myself on a narrow lane packed with people heading down to the patch of blue between the houses. It’s the same here as in Greece with the last holidaymakers clinging to the remains of summer. Children pass by in shorts and sandals clutching fishing nets and buckets. Despite the peppering of clouds and the cool breeze, people are still dressed for mid-August. In Greece, the first hint of autumn sends the locals reaching for their winter clothes. I understand the need in Britain to hang onto every second of sunshine. I have so many memories of camping holidays with Mum. The sound of rain drumming on a window always reminds me of being huddled inside our tent.

I reach the end of the street and it opens on to a harbour filled with boats bobbing up and down on the channel of water. The marshes stretch so far out I can’t even see the sea. The taste of salt is strong and seagulls squawk overhead.

If you’ve got a work in progress you’d like to share and you enjoy reading what other writers are working on then simply write a post using a section of your WIP that relates in some way to the day (15 words, lines or paragraphs from chapter 15 or even 10 lines from chapter 5). Add your link to the little blue linky over on K L Schwengel’s excellent blog and read the other diverse offerings from the WIPpeteers.

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  1. You are so good at putting me smack in the scene. The little details from the surroundings, the memories certain things evoke. Very nice. My absolute favorite sound is rain on the roof, or the tent, or the leaves . . . okay, love the sound of rain. Period.

    • Me, too! I love rainy days at my grandparents’ cottage, when the rain on the roof drowns everything else out. Sigh.

      The part about clinging to summer is true here, too. Our summers are gorgeous, but not long, so people hang on to them for as long as they can (and break out the shorts as soon as it hits about sixteen degrees. Brrrr!)

      Lovely descriptions again, thank you for sharing your world!

  2. That’s lovely Kate. You’ve really brought the story alive with your vivid descriptions which draw the reader into the action. I like the comparison between Greece and Britain. When I was in Florence some years back, my husband and I were amused by the Italian women in their furs when we were going round in our short sleeved T shirts. It was March and we were really warm. Guess it’s whatever you’re used to. :)

    • It’s the same when we’ve been to Greece in the winter and I don’t feel the need to wear a coat outside. Also my mother-in-law always cranks the heating right up so I’m always roasting!

  3. Love the taste if salt and seagulls. Took me back to my days as a bona fide California girl on the coast!

    • That’s quite a difference going from California to Alaska! And yes, the taste of salt in the air makes me miss living by the sea.

  4. Sometimes the first person POV draws me out of the scene, but the descriptions draw me back in. It’s a personal perception thing… but it says a lot for your descriptions! Gorgeous!

    • Thanks Eden, that’s great that the descriptions work for you even from a first person POV. (I do have a tendency of writing in the first person but I think for my new WIP I’m going to try writing it in the third person.)

  5. Beautiful descriptions – and I’m with everyone else about how different cultures react to the weather differently. We visited Greece in winter and although our hosts were complaining about the cold, we thought it was very mild. In NZ we spend a lot of time outdoors (and traditionally our houses aren’t very well insulated). My children still wear shorts and jandals in winter. We were always told if we were cold just to put a jersey on…

    • My grandparents didn’t have any central heating in their house for years and being in north Norfolk it got pretty chilly in winter. Extra jumpers were essential – even in bed – and I remember quite often when we stayed at Christmas waking up in the morning and being able to see my breath. Great memories though.

  6. I like the memory moment! There’s a smell that’s very common here in Alaska that I only smelled when camping in California. As often as I smell it, I have a rush of warm, fuzzy memories. Your story reminded me of it. :-)

    • It is so lovely when a smell takes you back to a good time in your life. The smell of honeysuckle always reminds me of my childhood and the house I grew up in with the honeysuckle growing round the door. :-)

  7. I love the mention of Brits trying to hang onto summer as long as possible. Love the descriptions, too – I’ve never set foot in the UK but I had a really good image in my head of what it would look like.

  8. I want to write descriptions like these! You are my hero of the week. Brilliant. Senses wide open, memory engaged. Lovely!

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