First weekly update, right on time. And I actually do have some progress to report – which is not a bad effort for a year that is only 3 days old at this point!

On the project 1 front, I’ve been able to wrap up one of the scenes I was stuck on and I’ve had some thoughts (though none of them coming with any kind of word count) about the other scene I’m stuck with. If I can wrap that up I then just need to write the conclusion – and I’ve had a few ideas about that, too.

Overall, I’m feeling fairly positive about it. Of course, I’ll need to do some (considerable) editing, but it’s shaping up.

On the project 2 front, I’ve started my research. So far, it’s been less about learning new stuff and more about identifying what I don’t currently know (anyone know when cashew nuts became common in the UK?…!). I’ve got a word document that I’m stuffing my questions into for the moment so that I can keep track (and yes, I’m counting that towards my word count for the year because it’s just as valuable as actual story content – if not more so!)

The good thing is that a good chunk of my existing research isn’t invalidated (or probably isn’t invalidated!) by the change in location. In fact the first quarter of the book doesn’t change except cosmetically because my characters still have to get from London to Colombo and the route they’d take for that is either identical to (most of) the route to Shanghai or very similar (ie the ships to both travel east via the Med, Suez and sails round the bottom of India). So all the work I’ve done on that part is still good.

I suspect that my info on the basics of the growing and harvesting tea are also of use, but I’m less certain about that because colonial Ceylon and republican China in the 1930s are rather different locations. On the other hand, because Ceylon was an actual part of Empire I should find resources a bit easier to come by.

Oh, and I still need to figure out my title. (I did contemplate just going with A Ceylon Adventure, but it doesn’t have the right ring to me so I’m still thinking there!)

So for the next week, my main focus is is project 1. I’m hoping that a few good evenings on that one will see it done and then I can really dig into project 2. At the same time, I’ll be continuing to note down my known unknowns – and maybe try to convert a few of them into known knowns. (I wasn’t joking about the cashew nut thing, by the way!)

Weekly word count: 800 words (450 story; 350 research)