Showing posts with label Nursing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nursing. Show all posts

Monday, November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #2

Hello lovely readers,

In my previous post (link) I shared that I was stuck in a scene. I am happy to report that I was able to get through that scene and move it towards the ending I wanted to get to, so thank you for your support and encouragement. I also wanted to share that I got 25,000 words last week, which feels to be a huge accomplishment. In NaNoWriMo the goal is to get to 50,000 words, I am okay if I don't get to that. Writing wise this month has been more about my story taking shape and getting it to what I want it to be, sometimes that means rewriting scenes, reformatting my outline, or realizing I need to do more research. At heart I am writer and I totally believe in creative license, but I am also a historian so I want my story to be as accurate as possible which for me means going back and adjusting details and frequently staring at my story saying "how am I going to do this?"

Alicia Vikander portraying Vera Brittian
I knew when I started writing a WWI novel I was going to have to do some research, as much as I love the time period it is sadly not discussed much here in the United States, so I am kind of coming to my story with very little knowledge. There were somethings I knew I was going to have to research for example: major battles in WWI, trench life, women in WWI. Then after reading Testament of Youth  I knew I wanted Mattie to become a VAD nurse, and I was happy to add that to my list of research because it gave my story and character direction. Next I realized that I had made Marcus a pilot... okay so what did pilots do in WWI? WWI was the first war to have a new battlefield in the skies. So add that to my list of things to research. These are things I expected to research and embraced it for my stories sake. However, the more I write the more I realize there are factors I haven't thought about.

My copy of Testament of Youth, marking passages I liked

For example I have brought the Harrington family to London during WWI, guess what happens? Zeppelin Attacks. While the Blitz of London in WWII is way more infamous than the attacks London faced in WWI, it still happened and now I have to make sure my character's house doesn't get blown up. Thus far I have found no record of Eaton Square being attacked in WWI (though it is attacked in WWII).

Also I want a character to be in a major battle... for my time line it has to 1915. Big battle in 1915- the second battle of Ypres. Great! People shooting at each other, "I can write that" (I think). I have read a few books about WWI, in preparation for this. But then I had this thought "Oh look... Germans used chlorine gas for the first time in battle. Awesome" Add research on chlorine gas to my list of things to research. I will just say my "The War to End all Wars" board on Pinterest (link) is beginning to look a bit morbid with pictures of disfigured men... and part of me feels bad for posting graphic photos but then my roommate told me "half the population is watching Walking Dead I think they can handle it." Okay good point. I also think this actually happened and I want my story to be genuine and as historically accurate as possible. So I continue on with my research that may or may not make my stomach queasy. If I am feeling that way about reading it, I can't imagine what my character would feel living it... until WWI Mattie lived a pretty sheltered life and now she is thrown into the world.
So while I didn't expect this research I actually don't mind researching it... like I said I want my story to be as authentic as possible though as writer I know I am allowed creative licensing, which I plan to take advantage of with in reason of course. To me I know this is a fictional story and it may never get published to me it is important because real men and women served in this war and I want to make sure my work is a good tribute to their lives and sacrifice.

A review of the movie Testament of Youth
So while I may not get to 50,000 words in my story I think it is important that I make a first draft that I can be proud of and that will hopefully make a better second draft.

Good motivation to keep going {pic}

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."