Showing posts with label Grand Days. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grand Days. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Author Happiness... 50,000 words

Hello lovely readers,

Continuing on with my hopes to share my writing accomplishments I wanted to share that I have gotten to 50,000 words in typing up my story (that is a little over 100 pages) and I still have so much to go. YEAH!!! As I shared a snippet of my story in my last "Author Happiness" post I wanted to do the same again. In the story I have skipped ahead to 1917 and Mattie is serving as a nurse. When I fist started my story I wasn't going to make Mattie a nurse but then after reading A Testament of Youth earlier this year, I felt it was the only right course of action... looks like I get to research being a nurse in World War I. YEAH!!! 
Anyway getting back to the story, Mattie is home on leave for Christmas and this is long snippet of her time back home. This
 "Mattie! Mattie!"
            Mathilda had missed the way her own name had  sounded. She had been serving as a nurse for six months and every one called her "Nurse Harrington" or "Sister Harrington" even though they weren't suppose to. Before that she was "Miss Harrington" at her training school, even her own bunk mates called her "Mathilda," no one ever called her by her childhood nick name. Until she heard that familiar call she wouldn't have not have realize how much she missed it.
            Mattie turned to the familiar call. "Georgi, what are you doing here?"
            "Come to welcome our brave hero home."
            Mattie blushed at being called a hero and reminded her younger sister she was not a hero. To that Georgiana called her older sister "her hero" with a mark of pride in her voice.
            "No Mrs. Gardner, is that safe?"
            "This is hardly London Mattie, no Zeppelin raids and we are nowhere near the sea shore to be attacked by the German Navy. I doubt they even know Derbyshire exists."
            It was rather odd for Mattie to hear her younger sister talk so flippantly  about the war. To Georgian it must be all gallant stories in the newspaper and the very white washed letters from Marcus who had been in France since the early part of 1915. Georgiana did her part by knitting socks and wrapping bandages but she was hardly old enough to actually serve in any capacity. However, looking Georgiana her younger sister by four years she scarcely the girl Mattie had left when she went off to training. Georgiana had lost all her childhood plumpness and was now eloquently slender with her soft honey blonde hair and perfectly green eyes she looked to be a model in a magazine. Mattie felt rough and rigid compared her younger sister's delicacies.
            "I am glad you packed light this buggy was atrocious getting down here if you had packed more I dare say I don't know if I could handle the ride back."
            "You have learned to drive the buggy?" Even though Georgiana had written to Mattie about this Mattie still sounded surprised.
            "We must all do our part," Georgiana responded sounding more adult than Mattie was used to.
            "Well I am only here for three days."
            "Three days? That is hardly enough time to do what I want to do."
            "Like what Georgi."
            "Oh I don't know, but all sorts of things." Then Georgiana instantly changed the conversation to discussing the men in her older sister's life before they got home, to which Mattie had to disappoint her sister with no men being in her life. Georgiana was rather frustrated as she had read stories in magazines about patients falling in love with their nurses. Mattie explained that anything of the sort would get her dismissed from her position, but Georgiana didn't want to hear that. "Maybe someone has fallen in love with you even if you can't fall in love with him?"
            "No and if you are going to be talking about such nonsense I'd rather drive the buggy, at least then I could fake distraction and pretend not to hear you."
            "Oh come on Mattie," Georgiana was always good at sounding desperate but not in a whining way. "Please tell me something of your life. I am fifteen years old and this war seems to be lasting a life time."
            Mattie went on to describe how she was on her feet all day, cleaning chamber pots, washing sheets and changing bandages of wounds. She began how she would have hold me down when their legs had to come off because of gangrene but before she really started Georgiana cut her off saying she still wanted to eat her Christmas lunch.
            "I am sorry Georgi, that is my life as a nurse."
            "It doesn't look that way in the magazine or on the recruitment posters."
            "I am sure it doesn't" Mattie said under her breath."
            Being a nurse wasn't what Mattie had expected either. She had expected the hard work and long hours and she truly did like being of use to all those around her but it was not what she thought it would be even after her months of training. She couldn't imagine how callous her hands would get, or how sore her lower back would be after standing, and the blisters she would get from the impracticality of her boots. For now she tried not to think of all the wounds she had seen, the gashes, the burns, and all the horrors a body could go through and still stay alive. It was hardly what she predicted nearly a year and half ago but if she had to chose it all over again she would because for the first time truly in her life she felt of use.
            "Have you heard from Leopold?" Georgiana asked pulling Mattie out of her thoughts.
            "He is engaged to an Ethel Phillips and plans to marry next time she gets leave."
            "You say that so casually I am rather surprised."
            "What to do you mean?"
            "You know very well what I mean. He was your first kiss and for awhile it seemed as if you two would get engaged. I am just surprised how casually you now mention him. I thought you cared for him."
            "Do you think I am the type of girl who would go around kissing boys she does not care for. I did care for him, I do care for him, but not enough to marry him."
            "And Kelby, do you care enough about him?"
            "Georgiana, I think you have been reading too many magazines. I think I will have to warn Mrs. Gardner."
            "You wouldn't?!"
            "I would if you keep meddling in my love life."
            "I don't meddle. I am just wondering, you hardly write, I just want to know what's happening."
            Mattie began to protest that nothing was happening and that she and Kelby and her were just friends, and Georgiana rolled her eyes stating that she had heard Mattie say that a thousand times. Georgiana was young but she knew how Mattie looked at Kelby and she knew how Kelby looked at Mattie and it was more than just friendship. Mattie refuted that saying that there was a war going on and that nothing could happen between them. She then shut the argument down by mentioning that mother and father would never allow it. Georgiana could see Mattie was saddened by this last remark and tried to encourage her sister stating that Kelby was in the medical core, and was sure to move up the rank.
            Mattie glumly responded "he was a corporal and now he is a sergeant, but it wouldn't make a difference if he was an officer as mother and father would only see him as a stable hand."
            "It seems such a waste." Georgiana sighed and Mattie could only agree.
            Kelby Foster, was following his desire to work in the medical field, he had told Mattie many moons ago that he had wanted to pursue becoming a doctor when the war was over. Mattie hated thinking that it wouldn't be enough, Kelby would never be rightfully for hers, her parents wouldn't allow a marriage between them that was certain. Mattie still remembered when mother discovered Daphne and Shane's relationship and the disgust that was in her voice.
            Before the war everyone talked of the progress being made and how the world was changing, now all that seemed to change was the growing death tallies and the new weapons that were designed to kill someone else. Mattie could have never understood the brutality of it, it felt to be in human in the mindless shelling and worse the use of mustard gas. Mattie tried again to push these thoughts away as Marcus, her only brother was a pilot in the war, and Kelby was risking his life as well in the medical core. She told herself it was Christmas and felt it was no time to think of such destruction, it was time to be thankful you survived another year and to hold love ones close. It was good to be spending Christmas at Southerton, it felt distant from the war and maybe for a day or so she could forget about all she had seen day in and day out at the hospital. Maybe for a moment she could remember happier times.
            Mattie was relieved to see the roof  line of Southerton peak out from the tree line. It felt to be years since she had been to the place that had always been her solitude against the world. Mattie loved everything about Southerton but what she probably loved most were her backwoods and her proximity to Cranston Court. She hoped for one good day that she could take a walk through her woods and visit Cranston as if it were times of peace again. She longed to see Cranston and its mistress, Lady Adelaide. She hadn't seen her friend since she left for training.
            Georgiana then asked after Marcus, Mattie responded that she hadn't heard from him since the first of December, and he wasn't sure he would be able to get leave for Christmas. Georgiana mildly whimpered that it wouldn't feel like Christmas without Marcus.
            "No, but remember he just returned to his unit, he doesn't have seniority anymore?"
            Georgiana almost giggled. "You speak so practical. What happened to my sister?"
            "Nothing, it just hard to remain so hopefully naïve when one sees everything I see every day."
            "Well you are home now and I demand you put all war talk behind you."
            "I will try."
            "There is no try only do."
            "You sound like Sister Bennet," Mattie teased with her sister. 
Did you know you were suppose to only call nurses "Sisters" if they had actual medical training. Most of the volunteer nurses in World War I were considered civilians and were left to do menial tasks not to do actual medical work. However, in times of crisis lines could be blurred. Besides reading Testament of Youth I have found the blog Edwardian Promenade to give a great overview of this in their "WWI Wednesday: Becoming a VAD" and though I would never cite Wikipedia in a paper I liked their page on "Voluntary Aid Detachment."  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Remember your character... Part 2

When I wrote "Remember your Character"I did not think that I would be writing a part two... but I have done a lot of thinking about my story.

In reading the book Testament of Youth she writes a great line about how her dream and what she wanted to do with her life, she said everyone that really mattered to her had died in the war and yet she still had her dream of being a writer. I underlined that line and thought what is Mattie's dream? At that point I didn't know, which is sad to admit as her story teller and not to know her dream.

I feel I have cast Mattie a lot like me, she doesn't mind going unnoticed and wants to make people around her happy no matter what it cost her. Through out the story she learns to step out of her comfort zone and wants to make a difference in the world.

I found this picture (on right) on Pinterest and read the article and I was captured by the post, there was a great quote:

It’s crucial for your hero to have a goal. If he doesn’t, you have no story. “Well why not?” you ask?
Because your hero’s goal is what drives the story. It’s the story’s purpose. Like a ripple effect, it influences your entire plot.

And I thought, while I know Mattie intimately and I know what her dreams and goals are (because they are almost the same as mine), but I don't know if I have expressed it. And then I thought, why would someone read my story if they didn't know her dreams. Because her dreams of being of use is what drives her story. But do I have to spell it out or can it just be obvious. The post states:

Be sure to make it clear as soon as possible what your character’s goal is. Of course you’ll spend time in the beginning setting up your characters and plot, but don’t wait until halfway through your story to clue readers in to your hero’s goal.

But I have never read a book where it says... "My goal is this(Fill in the blank)" unless they are trying to escape a situation. So I am wondering how to weave this into my story?--If you have any thoughts let me know.

Mattie {pic}
(To read article Click Here)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rethinking some writing

Hello Lovely Readers,

This probably won't effect many of you (as I am not sure who was reading it) I have decided to stop posting my story The Secrets of our Past Days. I know I only got five post in so it might seem as if I am jumping ship well in a way I am but for good reasons. One, I am not so happy with the title. Two, I want to take some time to do better plotting of my story. I have never been a big plotter usually I have an idea of where I want the story to go and then I see what happens, but this story I feel needs some development. Three, I have gone back and looked at my draft and I have realized some historical inaccuracies so I want to fix them up and make it more polished. 

I do want to share parts of my story with you my lovely readers as I feel it is great motivation for me but I am not sure what that looks like. And my fourth reason is, I would one day like to be published (though right now that seems a pipe dream) and do not want my hard work to copied by some one and stolen away from me.

Please if you have any advice or encouragement I would appreciate it... I am still figuring all this out. 

Thank you

Monday, April 13, 2015

Too many stories in my head

Dear lovely readers,

I am writing mainly to the other bloggers out there who are writers... well I guess all bloggers are writers. But I feel like this is more a writing problem. I am in the middle of writing a story I love and it has been going through my mind for years, so writing it finally feels like I am accomplishing a goal. However, I am re-reading Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (I know I have talked about the book and mini-series a few times on this blog...if you have not read it or watched it by now, you are missing out) anyway I love this story so much and I have thought about how to update it.
Roger Hamley and Molly
Or re-tell it in some way. I have watched a lot of vloggers updating stories on YouTube and while I feel this would be a great and easy vlog to do... I do not have any film experience. So if a vlogger is out there reading this blog can you please please make a adaptation of this story I would be eternally grateful.

For myself, I feel more comfortable with writing about the early twentieth century than I do in modern times. The last story I wrote was a re-telling of Sense and Sensibility but set in 1906 in western Massachusetts. It was lots of fun bringing the characters of Elinor and Marianne, who I love so much to life as Laurel and Emmy and trying to figure out what women in 1906 do when they are completely dependent on the generosity of family members. 

Molly, Cynthia, Mrs. Gibson
So now I my mind wrapped up in how to bring Molly Gibson up-to-date. The basic premise of Molly Gibson is she is very selfless, and always trying to please people, especially her papa. Unfortunately she is too selfless and in that has a hard time speaking up for herself and when she does some people think she is being selfish, especially her new step-mom. Her new step-mom frequently pretends that she is better than the station she lives in and acts in ways that are quite silly because she wants to be considered high-class. With her step-mom come a new step-sister, Cynthia, who is beautiful... I mean it is said about a hundred times how enrapturing Cynthia is. I personally think this is because she is actually not that good of person on the inside. But good Molly loves her anyway and goes to great lengths to protect Cynthia... even at the cost of ruining her reputation. Eventually her reputation is restored, thanks to Lady Harriet and she does find love (sorry spoiler). However, Elizabeth Gaskell dies before the actual book is finished so we just have to assume all ends happily for Molly.

Going back to my writing- as I said I feel more comfortable with the early twentieth century. So I am trying to configure a way to bring Molly into that time period. However, as much as I am enjoying those musings I must stayed focused on my story at hand. Ugh to be a writer with too many stories on my mind. I guess it is better than not having any stories.
If I do write this story I must use this line.

Monday, March 30, 2015

My story Monday

Dear Lovely Readers,
Thank you for reading my blog. I am still working through my story so I wanted to share it with you. However, I have decided I need to go back and do some correcting. I know grammar is not my biggest talent, but beyond that I need to make some historical corrections. Also the more I plot and write my story I have become less satisfied with my title. So I hope to get through these corrections and start sharing my story again. I do so love sharing it as it gives me inspiration to continue writing. 
Have a good day.

 Daphne and Mattie followed Parker up the back stair case from the kitchen to the third floor. Mattie was puzzled where they were going to find dresses for her and Daphne for Lady Welford only had one son. Amongst the splendor of Cranston Court Mattie began to feel the shabbiness of their attire even if they didn't have any mud stains on them. She felt certain that she would never fit into the grandness of a place in this and she felt certain that whatever she did would bring shame to Lady Welford, and she did not want to do that after all Lady Welford was already being so generous to them. Even Daphne who far outweighed Mattie in beauty looked a bit faded against the grandeur of Cranston. After passing through a long corridor that took them to the end of the house and into a wing that was barely touched, Parker stopped at a door.  
            He didn't open the door but spoke in hushed by very firm voice. "This was my sister, Aurora's room. I am sure my mother, Lady Welford, would like it to be left they way you found it. Get dressed quickly. Food will be in the nursery shortly."

            When Parker opened the room, the creamy pink color that covered the wall almost made it shine against the dark interior of the hall. The room was so dainty  and sweet with comforter, the curtains, and the pillow all matching in a cheery flower print. Mattie quickly noticed the little doll with curly brown ringlets sitting in a high chair in the corner with a bassinet in the middle of the room all the perfect size for the doll. And in the bassinet there was light pink blanket that matched the colors of the with the initials APW stitched on it. The one thing Mattie noticed the most was the lack of dust, which seemed astonishing for the corridor looked as if no one ever touched this part of the house. Everything though in this room looked as if it had been cleaned all the time. 

            "Mathilda! Don't touch anything," Daphne snapped at her as she was staring at the doll.
            For the story to be accurate it must be noted that even though no one was listening the girls spoke in a whisper as if someone was.

            "I wasn't, I was just looking. Don't you find it a bit curious that we have known the Welford family all our lives, at least Parker, and we have never heard of this Aurora Welford. I always thought Parker was an only child."

            "No Mattie, it was not curious at all. You only make things curious because you don't occupy your time with more important things. You read too many novels and it has affected your sensibilities. Now we have to find something to wear, we don't want to keep them waiting."

            Mattie didn't care what Daphne said she still found the revelation of an unknown daughter rather mysterious. She had thousands of questions and though she wanted to ask them all at once she felt it would not be appropriate to ask any further. It was clearly kept a secret, for an unknown reason, and Mattie felt asking them would bring humiliation to Parker and through him Lady Welford and Mattie did not want that. 
To read more click here

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Remember your character

Great post about becoming a VAD

Hello Lovely Readers,

I call myself a naive writer because while I have been writing since I was a little girl, I feel like I am figuring things and minus this blog I am not published. I do not call myself "naive" as a negative thing, no I just say it because when I give advice on writing I don't want my readers to think I have this completely mastered because I don't and I might never have it mastered... and to be honest I am okay with that. I write because honestly sometimes it is the only keeps me sane also when I am writing I don't know what else I should be doing.

I read a lot of blogs on writing about how to create characters and how to have great plots. Sometimes in reading these blogs I get so overwhelmed by them that I don't know how to translate it into my writing. For example: I read blogs and have numerous pins that talk about how there needs to be action in every chapter. But I am stuck think how can that be?

I am the kind of author that uses part of my personality in my characters. My character, Mattie,  is definitely my hopeful romantic self, who wants a happy ending and believes love will conquer all. My character Daphne, is my more practical self who while she wants love believes that following the straight path is the way to go.

Also personally, it is the heroines Elinor Dashwood, Fanny Price, and Molly Gibson that fill my head. Their struggles seem mostly internal. All them are very sacrificial, giving up their own pleasures for the good of  all, they also are not understood by other characters and for much of the story they are in the background. Then it seems all the sudden the man, they have been wanting the whole novel finally realizes how good they are or how beautiful they are and suddenly they are enthralled with the girl. (Wouldn't it be nice if it worked out like this in real life?) But these stories don't really have much action.

How can I take the heroines I love, and want to write about and make them acceptable in the 21st century readers? And how can I do this and still write good historical fiction?

Right now in my writing I feel I am setting up my characters. Mattie is still "innocently naive" but I think the War will push her out of her comfort zone and that will be good. I think Mattie will become a VAD (voluntary aid detachment) because after her brother gets injured she decides that there must be more she can do for the war effort. Mattie will have to lie about her age because she is 17 when the war starts and VADs couldn't volunteer till they were 23. Which is okay, because I have read a lot of people  didn't have birth certificates. 

But I am still figuring things out...

As I have working out the plot and trying to get Mattie on the train platform where she she discovers Kelby has abandoned her, but yet she still gets on the train to have a life in America (read here) I realizes she needs motivation. Besides not marrying Lord Thomas.

I just finished Vera Brittian's Testament of Youth, it is a memoir of her life during WWI where she becomes a nurse. It has been very insightful and I have underlined a lot of passages.
My copy of Testament of Youth with post-its marking pages of passages I liked
 But after the war she kind of drifts not knowing what to do next, she wrote: "The War came and went; love came and  went; but the dream remained" (pg. 544). For Brittian the dream was to be a writer and she goes to back to that, but I don't think I have given Mattie a dream. She wants to be useful and gives herself to help those around her (esp. Lady Adelaide) and she tries to sacrifice her own heart to love another so her sister can marry the man she loves. But what are her dreams?

Here is where I get stuck.

Okay I think I leave this post with more question than answers. However, to me that is the fun of writing because while I have plotted out my story I let my characters take me on a journey sometimes to places I never thought possible.

So my naive writing advice to remember your character's dreams.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Its time for a new post

It's Monday, this Monday has come upon me faster than I realized...

Every other Monday I am working on posting part of my story on my other blog The Secrets of Our Days Past  and it is that time again for another post. I almost forgot.

Click here to find out what happens to Georgiana after she almost drowns in the creek. Meet some new characters, and discover the world of Cranston Court.

Thank you.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A new beginning...

Dear Lovely Readers,

I have written about my story a few times and shared little blurbs of it on this blog but now I have set aside a blog for it all on its own. The Secret of Our Days Past is the story of Mattie Harrington and her family, she comes to age in the era before WWI and lives her life very idealistically. She cannot imagine what destruction will come when an assiation of an Arch Duke rocks all of Europe and soon England is at war. Her brother who has always wanted to be an explorer and his best friend enlist and are called to the front to fight in the worst battle Somme. Her life is shaken when her beloved brother is injured and he is so shell shock, he is barely the man she once knew. But other obstacles come into her path when her love interest decides to enlist after his older brother dies in the War. These challenges push her to become a stronger woman, who can no longer depend on ideals. She takes up war work, much to the horror of her mother and she learns the strength of her own heart. In the wake of war her family is practically penniless and now she must decide to follow her own heart, or do as her family desires and marry a title man she does not love.

What would you do?

"All aboard!"

            "Kelby where could you be? Why did you not come? I cannot leave not knowing where you are."
            "You must," another voice inside my head said. "You have to go for you and for him."

            "Miss  are you getting on this train?" the older man asked me.
            "He didn't come," I mumbled. "He promised he would be here. It was his idea."
            "I am sorry, but if you are going to Liverpool you need to get on this train." He said trying to push my suitcase into my hands.
            "He didn't come," I said more violently in my head  than out loud.
            "Miss I need you to get on this train."

            I looked back at the ticket counter and the doors beyond that to see if I caught a glimpse of him, but he was not there. Nothing but pure nerves were telling me to go back. My heart and mind were telling me to run far away.

            "Last call to South Hampton!"

            The train engine blew and the ground beneath my feet started to tremble with the wheels beginning to turn. Something inside me snapped. I grabbed my bag and ran down the platform to my car. I threw my bag on the train and the conductor took my hand to hoist me up.
            "Glad you made it my lady," he said through his walrus like my mustache.
            "Me too," I said slightly relieved slightly sick.
            "Have a safe journey," he said when he had shown me to my seat and placed my luggage in storage above my head.

            This wasn't a journey this was a new beginning. 

Mattie Harrington could not believe what she had done that fateful day, of course it would be many years before she talked about it. Parts of this narrative Mattie could still remember as if they were yesterday even though they happened years ago. Some parts of this Mattie had to conjure up out of her imagination to make sense of the outcomes. Therefore, it is a hard to call true account of the Harrington family but it is the truest account you will ever hear.

            No matter how many time Mattie Harrington told the story she always started the same way...

            There was a time when we were all happy and innocent to the ever changing world. Before the war and destruction on that followed in its wake. The war had changed our family in so many ways as it had for countless others. Before the war it didn't matter that Parker was heir to Cranston Court and was best friends to Shane Dolan, whom was the eldest son of Cranston's head cook. Daphne would be happy to wear daisy chain necklaces and Marcus dreamt of exploring the deep jungles of Africa. Back when were children we would spend our summers in the back woods, wade in the creek that divided Cranston from Southerton Greens. I remember here we could be a thousand miles away from everything and everyone with only our dreams to play out. Though, that was before the Great War. The Great War that killed Shane, wrecked Marcus, and made our poverty known. It was all due to the war. It was the reason our lives would be forever altered.

Click here to read more