Showing posts with label naive writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label naive writer. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #3

Hello Lovely Readers,

Frequently how my writing looked
I just wanted to let you know I did not get to 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I am okay with that. Before I started this challenge I read some bloggers about how they survived NaNoWriMo and it seemed to me they had no social life and were hanging on to sanity by a thread (okay I might be exaggerating) but I didn't want that to be me so I told myself "what ever I get done, I get done." I said this because I just wanted to focus on my writing this month and it was my first time doing this challenge. Also I still wanted to keep a life...though I'm sure my roommate felt a bit neglected sometimes (sorry).

For this month I set myself little goals, one to type up whatever I have already written out and two to work through some scenes that I was struggling with. I am happy to say I accomplished those goals.

Working through some scenes was hard because I felt mentally blocked and sometimes I would have to tear pages out of my notebook and try again. My mom once told me "crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think I went crazy sometimes because I would try over and over rewriting and reworking scenes and even though the words were the same I expected the outcome to be different. I might be a naive writer but I think as a writer you have to do this.

The following scene (set in 1915 between Mattie and Kelby) I think took me five tries to write out before I felt the flow fit into my story:

"Why do men think they can only prove their worth by fighting. I do not think there is a woman alive who thinks in such a way."
"It is is is in our blood, it comes from being cavemen and hunters and gatherers, always fighting to protect our loved ones and resources,"
"Do you really think this war is about resources?"
"No but it is to protect the ones we love," he discreetly rubbed his thumb over the top of her hand.
"You are not going to go are you?"
"Not yet," he pulled back at truth of that statement. He didn't want to go, first he couldn't leave his mother alone with Shane already fighting and second he had no interest in killing men when he was more interested in healing them. However, he knew if war went on much longer he might be recruited, he was of age and in good health.

"Promise me Kelby, promise me you won't go until its absolutely necessary." Mattie had just read Marcus was going to training camp to lose Kelby would be to much.
 "Absolutely necessary, I promise," he took her hand in hers and kissed the inside palm.

"Please Lord don't take him from me as well." Mattie looked into Kelby's eyes and she saw them living a long life together, but maybe that is just what she had wanted to see.

"Now it is a beautiful day, the first in a long while let us not waste it by worrying about a future we cannot know. Do you care for a ride? We can get a nice long one in before sunset, besides we must keep these horses in full form in case they are called for active duty." Kelby tried to make light of the situation but anyone who truly knew him know how it had tore his hear to lose a horse. Last month the army came for Clemson, a horse he had raised since a colt, and that had left Kelby a bit distraught.

Mattie eagerly agreed to the ride, she couldn't remember the last she had been on a horse. The country had been at war for eight months and while the paper was full of half truths and inaccurate numbers, the truth from the front lines were slowly being felt. Everyday they were told they had to make sacrifices for some that meant sugar and for others that meant sons. Any moment that felt similar to the past was a glorious feeling. The sun was so bright and welcoming, it warmed her cheeks and brightened her spirits. She was happy to put away any thoughts of Shane at the front, soon Marcus going to war, and she wanted to believe Kelby would never join them. The felicity of the ride and the beauty of the day made it hard to imagine men were being killed by the hundred in an area of Ypres, not more than six hundred kilometers away.

No one between Cranston and Southerton could imagine the horrors that the Germans were releasing on allied men. The men were praying that their day of battle would soon be over with the setting sun only had new weapon to face. A poison gas floated through the air over no mans land sinking into the trenches that were suppose to protect them from bullets and artillery was now the death of them. The pale yellow toxin burned their eyes, stung their throats, and left them suffocating for air. If they lived through that they suffered severe headaches and feeling lightheaded making them seek comfort on the ground only to breath in more gas. The men who could breath at all was jerky and shallow at best and they would climb out of the trenches against orders but in instinct to survive only to be gunned down by awaiting machine guns. "Its a death trap!" the men yelled as they retreated to a better spot. 
{Poisonous Gas}
I know this scene will need to be edited more but I was so proud of myself for writing a battle scene especially since I have not been battle or in a trench.

So while I did not get to 50,000 words... my last word count was just over 35,000 words I am proud of myself so spending so much time and energy on my story. The work I did makes me feel invigorated to keep going instead of being burned out (as I got the impression from the bloggers). As much I want to keep writing and I spent so much time working away that I didn't give myself much reading time so I for December I now want to find a better balance. AH! it is December! 

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, September 2, 2015

Writing Wednesday... not much to say

Hello lovely readers,

Usually I love Wednesdays and posting this blog, but I feel I have little to say. Actually that's not true... I have a bit to say. I caught up on my typing, which feels great. My current word count is 78,196 (so about 162 page). So now I have to continue writing!!! I feel comfortable with my outline and I have written a few future scenes (which is also exciting). So I will continue as working on my story I don't know how much I will have to post here.

A couple of months ago I started my retelling of Wives and Daughters through letter writing... I enjoyed writing it as I felt stuck in my writing and it was a good release for my creative energy. However, now I am so busy between my work, other activities to juggle two stories.Also I am thinking about changing my timing of this blog. I might have been a little too ambitious to think I could have a post three times a week and as I have always wanted quality over quantity... I am going to switch to posting Tuesdays and Thursdays (or Friday) and as much as I like alterations I am not going to hold myself that as tightly as I have been. I still want to share the things that are important to me my faith, the events of my days,  my writing and the books I'm reading. Also there will be times I share random YouTube videos and posts of historical dramas. I hope you will stay tuned to my blog... I do so enjoy writing it.

Last weekend I went to Vermont (my first time to Vermont) to see a revival pastor named Clayton Jennings. As I have posted here I have been feeling rather distant in my faith and a good friend of mine invited me to this and it was wonderful. I got such in sight into what God desires for my life. I hope to write about that more. However, I wanted to share this video "Now Is Your Time | Philippians 4:13": 

Even if you aren't a none Christian this is a good reminder that this is our one and only life and if you have a passion or a dream this is the time to do it. He states "if you want to be an author write that book." However, as a Christian it speaks to the fact this is our time and that nothing is impossible to do what God calls us to do. Do you have a sense of what God has called you to do? 

I know this message can sound like a TV evangelical that talks about how God will bring you wealth, well that is not what Clayton Jennings messages is, I think his message is to tell us to stop dragging our feet and embrace what God has in store for us. To keep being "game changers" for God. Personally I think this is an awesome message because I as a wanna-be-author I have always wondered how I can use my gifts for God... the Bible talks a lot about pastors, evangelicals, and prophets (well  I am not those things). So I didn't know how I fit in to the church... in that I really happy to know I can use my gifts of writing and story telling to spread the good news of God. Is there anything you are passionate about you can use and shape for the message of God? 

That is all for now, but before I close this post I want give a shout out to my bffl on her birthday... I am so lucky to be her Watson. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting unstuck...Writing #Littleloves


Hello my lovely readers,

It is Wednesday and that means it is Writing Wednesday... I probably like this time the most because I can share what I working on creatively. In a previous post Writing #Littleloves I shared that I was feeling stuck in my writing. Well I struggled for awhile of what to do, what my story was really about, and why I was writing it? I know many writers struggle with writers block and I see a lot of pins on Pinterest about how to conquer writers block and I am not saying my advice is right but here are some things I did and it helped...

Read a great novel...
I cannot stop recommending The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. I loved that it was about a writer trying to write a historical fiction. Also I liked how she talked about her process, one thing she did was tape down facts about the era she was writing about on her desk so she could look at them easily. I have notes that have kept about my characters but they are scattered about. So I took out my notes and taped them down.

Rethinking some things down
I am all about following inspiration and letting the characters telling me where the story is going. While that is great in some ways I felt I lost my point of my of my story. I want my story to be a romantic story of hoping in spite of obstacles. I want my story to be about Mattie and Kelby being separated by class, family obligation and war. World War I to be exact and yet I was nearly 100 pages into the writing and these things had not come up. So I decided I needed to rework my writing... but how?

Skip Ahead
 Most of my work in progress is building up to WWI but this is where I was getting stuck because I didn't know how to take my characters from the life they were living and throwing them into War... So I took a step back from my current plot and wrote a scene in the middle of the war. You can part of that scene here... "Author Happiness". Skipping ahead really helped me feel inspired to get back into my story.
Do some research...It can be fun
Okay I will admit I was a history major and yeah I went for Masters in Library Science so I enjoy research...but it can be fun. For example: I found this documentary "Diaries of the Great War" on Netflix and for me I watch the documentaries 8 episodes and take notes of things I want to mention in my story. Also I have a board on Pinterest called "The War to end all Wars" and follow other boards about World War I. So even though you may not be writing a WWI novel I am sure you can find areas of research that are fun. 

Listen to Inspiring Music
When I am writing, I like to have music going. Sometimes I just find a song that speak to me. I am not going to make suggestions on what songs to listen to as I know music taste really vary. Here is one song I have just discovered and feel it well with my story...
Song: Carry you
By: The Native Sibling
Get distracted
If you are not on a deadline (which I am not except my own thinking) it is okay to walk away from your writing. I have really gotten into Poldark on PBS. It is about Ross Poldark who is believed to be dead after fighting for the British in the American Revolution. He comes home to find the woman he loved to be engaged to his cousin, his inheritance in practical ruins, and he has to make a new life for himself. It is great! Plus you get to see Adrian Turner without a shirt...
While it has nothing to do with WWI, I don't care! It is my distraction. 
Okay back to serious writing..
Outline/ Timeline
As I said above I usually about following inspiration and my one weakness is making an outline. When I skipped ahead and wrote that scene I decided that I wanted to weave it into my story as a flash forward.... but then I thought "now what" I have this one random flash forward. What do I do with this. So I was going to have more flash forwards about the war, this would help me pull the war more into my story. So I sat down and actually outlined my work in progress and it feels good to have a direction.
Typed it up/Write it down
I know this takes a long time but I am the kind of writer that has to write down my story and then type it. Only on a few occasions have I been able to look at a blank screen and just type up my story. It really helped me to type up some parts, re-working my descriptions, adding some detailing and even taking out some unneeded dialogue. 
If you are the type of writer who can type up a story and are feeling stuck I suggest maybe stepping away from the computer and hand writing some things out. 

 I know this will not be hard for writers as writing is basically dreams you put on paper. While right now I remain unpublished I think of the day my story will be published and I love thinking about the cover of my story. So I have spent some time while stuck searching Pinterest to get some inspiring art to be the cover of my story. I know right now I do not own this picture and I know that my publisher will have their ideas on what to make the cover look like but right now I am just enjoying the idea of a possible cover. 

When I first started my thesis, for my graduate program, my advisor said choose something you are going to enjoy even when its tough. "Choose your own hell." Enjoy your work, enjoy your research, enjoy your time you spend writing. I know for me writing is sometimes the only thing that make sense to me. I enjoy getting lost in my characters, and lost in my story. If you don't enjoy it maybe it is time to set it aside and work on something you do enjoy, work on something you find passion in. 

I know I am not a published author so you can take my words with a grain of salt but these are things I have found useful. 

Just Dance

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Too many stories in my head

Hello lovely readers,

This is a little venting... It is not a really problem but it is a problem in my writing world. I currently have two working stories. One is my major work in progress (or WIP as I have been informed) and the other is my postings of Molly's letters to her aunt in my "Yours faithfully" project which I am enjoining.

Then a couple of weeks my roommate told me about this "question of the week" her co-worker posts (sorry if I am getting the information wrong). The question was "If you could go back and live in anytime period, what would it be and what two celebrities would you take with you?" Both these questions were hard for me to answer, because of course it would be awesome to live in the Edwardian times (or at least what I imagine), but I am also drawn to living in Jane Austen's time but I think only if I knew for sure that I was going to meet Jane Austen. Though after reading after Confessions of Jane Austen Addict I am less inclined to do that. Right now my heart and mind are in Edwardian times so I think I would go back to that time.

Work in Progress: Hope Deferred
Work in Progress: Yours Faithfully

And now I have a new story in mind spurned from the question my roommate and I were discussing. I was thinking it would be about a girl who finds a journal from a hundred years ago only to discover it is was her journal and by the end of the book modern girl gets the choice to go back in time... but will she?

The cottage had clearly been abandoned with ivy entangling itself in the stone and covering the windows. It had been untouched for nearly fifty years and looked as though it came from of the Grimm's fairy tales with one expecting to see Hansel and Gretel running away from the witch at any moment. 

"Are you sure about this Caroline?" Janey questioned as she rested a box of my stuff on the roof of her car.
"Of course," faking more confidence than I actually felt.
"It looks like setting from a scary movie not where you can write your next novel." Janey Brick, my best friend from high school, really my only friend still from high school had gotten married right after college, had two kids right away, and lived a pretty cookie cutter life. For some reason she still hung out with me, who went to college on the six year plan floating between majors of Poly Sci, Psychology, took a year off to travel, and came back to major in Creative Writing with a minor in Women's Studies.
"It will be perfect, Janey. It is at the back of my Grandma's property, so I will be well fed and I will not have to work extra shifts at the Coffee Joe's or seek out employment at Charlie's-Ship-It store. I will just be able to write, work my usual shift at Coffee Joe's to pay off my student loans." I said it more to justify it in my own head. 
"Alright. You know Charlie's-Ship-It store is not all that bad."
"You're just saying that because your father-in-law owns it."
"I am and he has always treated you kindly."

I then profusely thanked Janey for how she and her family always looked out for me, but I told her I had to write. I had written one novel from my years in undergrad but it hardly sold more than a hundred copies, and my editor was going to drop me soon if I didn't have another piece. I had to write, it was the one thing I knew I was suppose to do, but it was hard to manage it between two jobs, paying rent, paying off loans, and still managing to buy groceries. So with all the certainty I could muster at the moment I reassured her I would be fine. 

I wouldn't have even thought of this cottage to hide out in, had it not been my mom's suggestions a couple of months back. Grandma Wallis' health had grown worse and worse over the last few months and mom was getting concerned about her well being. Grandma Wallis had lived on this farm since the day she was born and with no brothers or sisters to care for it, it was up to her to make sure it survived, and she would never leave it for the suburban lifestyle my mom had adapted to. I always looked up to Grandma Wallis  for how strong willed she was. A couple months back my mom and her sister were discussing bringing in a nurse to help her, but they knew she would never accept a stranger to take care of her. Everyone who worked on the farm had worked here for almost forty years and if they were no longer able to work their children would pitch in. So my mom asked me, since in her mind I was doing nothing with my life, if I would help out. I actually agreed to consider it once my lease was over on my current place. Though pitching the idea to Grandma Wallis was harder than I thought, she didn't like the idea of me thinking she was an invalid, so I rephrased the story of me being hard on my luck and just needing a place to squat for a bit as I got my life back on track. Being from the generation of the Depression Era, my grandma agreed to that easier and offered me the cottage at the back of her property. She insisted that we both keep our independence and I complied to her condition telling mom I would check up on her multiple times a day. That appeared to make both of them happy. 

"Are you sure there are no bugs or mice?" Janey asked.
"Positive, Joe came over here the other day to clean it out."
"Good an almost blind gardener was here, that makes me feel comfortable."
"I am sure he had his son with him," though I wasn't sure at all. "It can be no worse than my place I had on Kelsey St."
"You moved out of that place in a month," Janey was quick to remind me.
"I will be alright."

Now that Janey was a mom she was quick to mom me, which I never minded as I knew she was just looking out for me and as a friend wanted my best in life. But like any mother daughter relationship I had to show her I was self-sufficient.I was going to make this cottage work,  I was going to start and finish my novel here before long and then figure out the next step. That was my life always figuring out the next step. 
This is as far as I had gotten in thinking about it... I don't know where it will go from here, but I will keep you posted. I do like this of this story as I have always wanted to write a multi generational story (or a dual timeline story) so I think this would be intriguing. Right now though I think I have enough stories on my hand for my mind to work out. I have a very bad habit of writing one story and then when another idea comes I put my first story down and switch gears. So far all that has done has left me with notebooks of unfinished stories and I really do want to finish my WIP of "Hope Deferred."

I have to stay focused and continue on. That's all for now from this naive writer, will keep you posted on all my works in progress in my next "Writing Wednesday"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dwelling in the Past

Hello Lovely Readers,

I love to dwell in historical fiction in most everything in my reading, the TV shows and movies I watch, and my own personal writing. I am personally still a romantic about history and probably idealize it too much even though I studied history I know it is not clean cut and glamorous as I wished it was. One time I hear a quote "we study the past to know how we got here" (sorry paraphrasing so might be a misquote) and I think it is accurate. I like studying the past to know the struggles, the battles and the times of glory and hope people went through to get where we are now. Even though the stories I read are set in the past, if the book is written well, I feel I can relate to them and I wonder what I would do if I was in that circumstance?-- I know you can do this with really any genre of literature but there is something about historical fiction in that pulls me in.
I think I owe my love to early 20th century upon seeing Biltmore.
For my own writing there is a comfort in knowing the outcome. For example: In my story I am currently writing it is about WWI and I know what happens and I know who is going to win the War. But then there is this weird comfort in not controlling the outcome. I know what is going to happen in the grand scheme of things and I just put my characters in those events and seeing what happens to them and how they are changed by their circumstances.

My love of WWI might be owed to Downton Abbey
As I stated I am currently working on a story that will go through WWI. And while I studied early 20th century history in school I know vague details about WWI. I have read various novels, biographies and other non-fiction books and I sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information I am learning. I felt so overwhelmed I thought "maybe I should put this story aside while I research." But then I thought "I am never going to know enough to be completely accurate." This is true of all historians... we take the sources we have and as best we can we put a narrative. However, the thing about history is that unless we build a time machine we will never get the full story, which give historians and writers some freedom. So when I saw this post on Pinterest I was highly intrigued:

And I felt it was okay for me not to know everything about WWI, that doesn't mean I can't attempt to write a fabulous story. So I will keep pressing on through my first draft. If I find out anything interesting I will keep you updated.

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

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, February 16, 2015

Some random thoughts on writing

Hello Lovely Readers,

I am sorry I have not posted this month yet. It has been a hectic month with working full time (between two jobs), all the snow we have gotten and trying to work more on my novel I haven't made it to the blogging sphere in awhile. So first let me say Happy Belated Valentines Day.
I have been trying to work more and more on my story so in someways I am thankful to have snow days that I can't leave my house because I use them to type up my story. I know I have said this a few times, but the way I write is by handwriting out my story then slowly (very slowly) I type it up. Yesterday during the storm I was typing up a section that I had written over last Christmas. Uh it feels good to type it up but sometimes I wonder with this process it might take forever to become a published novelist. I will try not to be discouraged by this fact because I'd rather write and enjoy the process than thinking about being published. However, my friend told me just through this blog I am a published author and that feels pretty cool. 

For my last story I set up a separate blog for it (Sisters of Pine Haven) and while that is mostly my first draft of the story it kept me motivated to keep writing the story by just knowing people were reading my words. I have posted a few bits of my story (The Secrets Days of our Past ... working title) here on this blog but I thinking about producing another blog for that story so I can keep any readers updated. But I am still hesitant because one day I would like to be browsing the book store and see my works published... If you have any thoughts please let me know. 
Yesterday, I finished re-reading The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly and while I love the plot and the characters the thing I loved the most this time of reading it were her words and her historical points. I can tell she loves language and it seems very precise in the way she chooses what words she uses. Also it is clear she has researched a lot for her books. But the books aren't at all stodgy or hard to get through because of her historical details, they are fast paced and intriguing and I marvel at how she does that.

I love her words so much I read the question and answer portion about the author in the back of the book. Don't want to plagiarize, so I will just copy the parts about her writing because these intrigued me most. 

Where and how do you write?
I write in an office in my house. I always have a pot of strong tea and bar of dark chocolate for company and courage. 

Okay tea I can do, I might have to switch dark chocolate for milk and work out more to do that diet.

Why do you write?
Because I love words and stories so much. Because I would grief stricken everyday of my life if I couldn't write. Because I'm obsessed and compelled. Because I'd be utterly useless at anything else.

Yep I feel that way too especially "the grief stricken part"... I remember when I was writing my thesis I couldn't wait to get back to my story.

But the question that got me the most was...
How do you conduct your research?
For me, research is more of an art than a science. I usually start with a good, general history of the time period I'm researching to give me a solid grounding then I roll up my sleeves and get dirty. I visit archives, libraries, museums and and historical societies to try to dig up as many primary sources as I can. 

Okay I don't do that. But I do love research. Another thing I love about Jennifer Donnelly is that she must do a lot of research. The fist book I read by her took place in 1900s in upstate New York, the Rose trilogy takes place in London (primarily) from 1888 to WWI and then she has another teen book about the French Revolution. Ugh that is such a wide range of topics. I love that she lives in New York but yet writes about London and she lives in modern day but writes about the past. It is very inspiring for me. Because I too live in the states but my writing is about England and the Edwardian Era up to WWI. I do my research by reading novels, memoirs, biographies, and spending too much time on pinterest. I recently finished A Season of Splendor about the Gilded Age in America and the elite class that ran New York City and underlined so many passages I felt I was back in school.

I have also found other books that have been rich with knowledge and have enjoyed them. I kind of feel like a sponge trying to read anything about this time period... If you have any suggestions let me know.

I will keep you guys updated on any progress of my writing or my random thoughts on writing. I know writing can be a lonely task but I love sharing my life you, my readers, and I want writing to be a big part of my life.
I like this picture when I am thinking about my writing

Friday, January 16, 2015

When you don't know what to write

Hello lovely writers,

Yes I am writing specifically to my writing friends (but if you are not a writer you can read too)... minus this blog I am not a published author. And I actually don't care if I ever have a published book (I mean it would be great for my stories to live beyond my own little imagination) but for me writing has always been a tool for escapism. However, this doesn't mean I don't want to nurture or grow in my skills as a writer. Now that I am done with school it is one thing I want to spend more time doing. I have even thought about looking into taking creative writing classes (not for a degree) to really work on this craft.

Anyway, on Wednesday night I attended a writing workshop and it it was great... One thing we did was "the leader" put a few pictures on the table and we had to take one and start writing a story, poem, whatever based on that picture. Then 20ish minutes we had to pick a completely different picture and some how integrate it into what we were writing already. Well I was drawn to the first picture (above) instantly... it looked like a pic from a time period I love.* Then the next picture was of a person holding a cross (looked like a rosary) looking as if he was about to cry and a man shouting in the background (sorry couldn't re-find image). It was a great activity to get the creative thoughts flowing so I just wanted to share it with you all.

Here is what I wrote:

"Move it along Teddy," mama pushed the back of his head.
"But Mama look at those men." 
"Move Edward!" Teddy jumped when mama called him by his formal name.

Edward James Coolson was so stately and sometimes it felt unfitting when he looked down at his dirt covered hands and his apron that had numerous patches.

Mama didn't stop and notice the men on the bicycle, she was too busy selling her flowers. She had up on her best dress, with a lace shawl, and her pillbox hat with trimmings and feathers she had sewn on herself. Mama had wanted to look respectable, "respectability sold flowers," she had often said.

Mama didn't stop and notice the men on the bicycle. But Teddy did. Teddy got in trouble for always gawking at the people they passed on the street. To be fair though these men probably wanted to be noticed. They wore bright checkered jackets both of yellow and crimson. One was standing on the pegs of the bicycle effortlessly balancing his weight on his friend's shoulders. "Perhaps they were on stage," Teddy thought for no one dressed so brightly. Black was the mainstream for this neighborhood it blended well with the coal and soot that filled the air. 

Mama didn't stop and notice the men. She hardly noticed anyone that wasn't a customer. She had observed the finely dressed women a bit a ways and nudged Teddy to them. They were in soft linen dresses, one with purple sash, and both with boater hats. Mama always noticed women's dresses before she married Pa she had worked in a seamstress shop and was always pointing out styles to Teddy. Teddy thought it was almost magic the way she knew by how a woman dress if she would buy flowers or not. She knew these women all dressed up would mean they honorable women and honorable women always had a few pennies to spare to give a child in need. Teddy must look to be in need for mama fiercely shoved him towards the ladies. 

Teddy did as mama told him. He wanted to sale her flowers too. Actually he didn't want Pa to yell at them when they came home. Pa was always yelling. He would yell when it was February and they didn't sale anything because the streets were deserted. He yelled in June because he though they could sale more than they had. Pa hadn't worked in months, he had gotten injured in the factory. Mama said it hurt a man's soul not to work. Pa must be taking his hurt out on mama. 

Teddy did as mama told him. He didn't tell anyone about the nights Mama cried or about the bruises on his arms. Pa was always good to hit in places that could be covered up. Teddy wanted to run away but he couldn't, he couldn't leave Mama. Besides once Pa was working again everything would be fine. Pa wouldn't hit or yell anymore. Teddy reminded himself of the nights when Pa would play his violin after dinner, and how Mama would take Teddy by the hand and teach him to dance. Every night Teddy told himself it would get better, that's why he stayed. **

 I am not sure if I will continue writing this story but I did really enjoy getting some motivation for writing and meeting other writers. I know writing can be a really lonely activity so I am glad to meet people with the same hobby as me. 

*-Little did I know it was from the movie "Harry and Walter go to New York" but I knew that guy in the front looked a lot like Elliot Gould.
**- I did some retouching to writing to make it more clean. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Writer confession... I am a bad writer

Okay I saw this picture on Pinterest and loved it... Though it was a little out of date for the setting of my story I thought it was perfect for my characters. So I went to pin in on my "Lovely Inspiration" and when Pinterest asked me to describe the pin I thought "wait what are my character's name?" I mean I know my main character's names (Mattie and Shane) but I could not think of Mattie's sister's name... Daphne.

Whoa that's bad and I hung my head in disappointment trying to think of when was the last time I truly looked at my story. I could make an excuse of being on vacation and almost as soon as I got off the plane I was in moving mode. But still I have 100s of pins about how writing a daily thing... and for me its just not. I feel like a bad writer.

As I am transitioning back to school it feels like a good time to get a fresh start and I want write the promise that I will write every day... but knowing the reality of working and hopefully finishing my thesis won't leave much time for my creative writing. However, I know escaping into my writing will help me stay sane. So my goal is to make time to write and post parts of my story as frequently as possible. (I know that's vague but I am trying.)

Something to remember...

To begin with here is part of my story of my working title "Grand Days"...
An idea for Cranston Court
Cranston Court stood as relic to the Tudor era with an almost gothic feel to it. At least on the outside on the inside it looked more like a French palace, or so Mattie imagined, don in the Rococo style as if Louis XVI would come in any moment. Lady Welford was an American Heiress through and through and had mad made the talk of the country when she refused to move into Cranston when Lord Welford inherited it. She insisted for many modern improvements that were common in America. This included new pipes, better fitting windows to block the drafts and dumb waiters so food would be warm when it reached the dinner table. This was before Mattie was born but it was still gossiped about the village.
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." 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Inspiration Strikes

Or a phone with a "note pad"
I follow a blog called Inkwell Inspirations that mainly has the focus for Christian writers. It is a great blog to read  in order to remember to combine my faith and my passion for writing. In a recent post they discuss the idea of being a "The Subconscious Writer." She explains this: "Because so much of my creative process takes place on a level even I do not understand. Ideas percolate under the surface, maybe for weeks, maybe for months, maybe for years. At some point they burst out like a geyser. Characters are talking to me, scenes unfolding in my head, worlds evolving, and I’m frantically trying to get them down on paper before I lose them. I’m sure if push came to shove, I could sit down and come up with an idea and craft a book like a normal person, but that’s not the way I typically do it, and it’s not the way I desire to do it."
I feel this is totally true of me. For example I was walking to my dentist I saw these houses and I thought they were beautiful and all the sudden a scene came to me... it is not a scene for the story I am currently working on... it just came out of no where. I took out my phone and pulled out my "notepad" on the phone and began to type. I love when scenes like this come to me it makes my walk abouts more interesting. She ends the post saying "In the end, being a “subconscious writer” isn’t the goal. It’s just the process. The ultimate goal, whether pantser or plotter, is to be led by the Holy Spirit and allow him to flow through every word we put on the page. This is how to write with a godly passion that will cause our readers to fall in love with our stories and transform them from the inside out." 

I agree with this... I don't always want to be a subconscious writer one day I would love my faith to be more and more about of my writing but you got to start somewhere, right?

Here is the scene...

It was a great big Victorian home with intrinsic molding, a minimum of two bay windows, and high pointed roofs. Built in the last decade of the nineteenth century in the heyday of the golden age. While it was all posh and prestige on the outside, it was Ginny Camden grandma's house. The house was filled of memories of her playing dress up and Essie (as Ginny called her Grandma) reading to her the books of Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables late into the night. She had memories of her summers spent there, she got her first kiss there from Lawrence (who she had a crush on all summer mostly because she was going through a Little Women phase and he not only had the name but had a slight resemblance of a young Christian Bale). In later years Ginny felt Essie was the only one who understood her, in years as a teenager when her parents fought non stop Essie's home was a place comfort. Today was not a day of joy.

Ginny rested her heads against her knees that she had close to her chest. She could still smell the dye in her new black dress. 

"There you are," her mom found her buried in Essie's closet. "I think you should come out and see some people, there are a lot of people who want to see you."

Ginny just shook her head. 

"Some of your friends are here. And lots of food."

Food? How was that suppose to comfort her? No one cooked as well as Essie. 

"Please Genevieve."

She didn't know how she was suppose to get up she could barely stand. Everything about this day felt wrong. This house would not feel the same without Essie sitting at the kitchen table that could look out to the street. 

Ginny just shook her head. 

"Alright Ginny, take your time."

"She's not up to coming out yet," she heard her mom say.

"God bless her soul," a woman's voice responded.

God? Where was God in this? Essie had always been a true believer attending church every Sunday morning and evening, and Bible study on Wednesday nights. If she hadn't gone out that Sunday night she would still be here. God could have protected her. Essie was always going on about how God was a great protector but He didn't protect her that night. God was obviously not there

Ginny closed her grasp around the cross necklace hanging around her neck, she wanted to yank it off, but no strength came. Essie had given her this cross on her last birthday with the inscription "Always love" on the back.
Okay I didn't write all that on my walk but it just started coming to me. I really want to see where this story goes.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Writing is a Puzzle (pt. 2)

I wrote "Writing is a puzzle" back in April but reading it and thinking it over I don't think it made much sense. Sorry about that, sometimes when I am writing these post my thoughts get carried away and it becomes a free flow of words. So let me clarify...

As a writer I am not really good at plotting out points and fine details, in my head I know where I want things to go but most of the time I let the character take me through scenes. For example in my last story Sisters of Pine Haven (still in revision) I based it loosely off Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility but I threw in some plot twist that were my own. I know writer's advise of knowing every detail of your story but I enjoy letting my characters take me on a journey with them. 

Now in my writing of my story The Grand Days (working title) I knew that I wanted Mattie to get into an accident, this is bring Kelby's feelings to light, but I wasn't sure how I was going to do this. I originally thought I wanted her to fall off a horse. Then I remembered I had already written that Mattie's father didn't own any riding horses. So how was Mattie going to get into a riding accident. At first I thought well maybe she could sneak off to Cranston Court (where she usually rides), however if she did that Kelby would never let her go off on her own... it was not appropriate back then for women to ride alone. So how was I going to have this riding accident with no horse? Well as I have stated sometimes I get inspiration from looking on Pinterest and back in April I found this picture...

And I thought how perfect is that. Mattie could easily get in a bike accident, but now how to get bike into the story and why would Mattie be riding that bike? (Especially since she was so used to riding horses.) Here is a little preview...

By good luck there something to change topics to. Shortly after Daphne's return a parcel arrived directly from London. A bicycle been sent to Daphne from a secret giver. Georgianna assumed that it was from one of Daphne's admirers, no matter how many times Daphne claimed the note was in Cousin Mildred's hand. Bicycles had replaced horses as the stylish mode for city girls to get around but they still had enough curosity about them. Daphne said she had grown quite accustomed to taking ride in the park on them and she thought this bike would be a good mark of civility in the countryside. Mattie wondered what use it would be as it seemed more likely to get stuck in the mud than a horse. However, she was thankful to have something to distract Georgianna with. By the end of the week they had christened the bicycle Cortez, after the infamous Spanish conqueor. 

In this way I feel writing is a puzzle because sometimes as a writer you know what you want to write but not sure how to get there until inspiration hits. In other ways I feel writing is a puzzle because sometimes scenes come into my head that have nothing to do with the current events of the story. I feel like those are puzzle pieces just floating around waiting to be of use. For example, going back to Mattie's accident, Kelby is suppose to see her fall and come to her rescue (very fairytale-esque) but Mattie doesn't really remember the details until years later. As I was writing about Mattie's recovery from the fall I wrote this scene. 

"Do you remember the day you got this," he stroked the side of her forehead feeling the scar beneath his thumb

"Yes I fell from that blasted bicycle."

"I knew then. As soon as I saw you fell, and thought you could have ded. I knew then, I ran to you faster than I had ever ran. I came to you and I called out, 'Mattie, Mattie, sweetheart'. It was foolish but then again it wasn't. You are my sweetheart and I felt from that day on I could not do without you."

He kissed her scar and she wanted to melt in his arms. "I guess I owe that blasted bike to letting me know of my affections," he whispered. Mattie giggled at joy in this moment. 

Now logistically this scene can't happen until years later but I loved where this was going and how it built up Kelby's feelings for Mattie so I scribbled it down. Now I am just waiting for my writing to catch up to this scene. Until then it is just a puzzle piece.
An ideal moment for Mattie and Kelby
Sometimes writing is only a puzzle that as writer is putting together. I think that is why I like writing because while I know the big picture of what I want to happen in the story I also get to explore the details of the story. 
In writing this post I went through some of my previous post of my Sisters of Pine Haven story and I realized how much I shared of it and I remember that being so motivating to my writing. Right now my story The Grand Days is just pen and paper but I will try to take some time to get it in type. I still have my thesis to work on but I know I need to keep up my fun writing to keep me sane. I will keep you posted on my progress.