I've mentioned before that a key part of writing the Good Thief novels involves me visiting the cities I write about (tough, I know). Generally, I go on three trips. One when I'm building up to start work on a novel, one when I'm some way through a first draft, and a final trip when I'm polishing the script.
It used to be that when I visited cities, I'd spend most of my time scribbling down notes. I'd try and describe as much as I could, without worrying too much about what I was writing. The idea was to try and sum up the sights and sounds in some pretty hasty language, and then tidy up my impressions when I got home to my desk. I did other things, too. I grabbed flyers and took photos. But it was still pretty labour intensive.
That all changed when the iPhone came along. With THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VENICE, I was able to shoot quick films of anything that interested me. I could talk over the videos, with notes to myself or ideas or observations. In the end, I came back from my trips to Venice with a whole bunch of videos, and then I watched them over and over again at my leisure and simply wrote about what I'd seen. Much faster. Probably much more accurate, too. And so I thought it might be interesting to share some of the clips here.
First up, I've chosen these two clips, from when I was searching for a likely bookbinding business for Charlie to break into. This is the first burglary Charlie commits in the book, in a darkened alley, at night, when the streets of San Marco are mostly deserted. In order to be sure it was possible, I went out at night myself, and I found two likely locations.
The first one, though, had a problem...
Which is why I settled on this second location as the perfect place for the bookbinding business in the novel. It's where Charlie breaks in more than once, and where he comes face to face with Graziella, the glamorous female cat burglar who taunts him throughout the book.
I'll post more clips during the next few days. And I can only apologise for my terrible attempts at pronouncing Italian words...