Why must inspiration for one project always hit just as I'm gearing up to start another? Happy Halloween, by the way, everyone. I proved this morning that I can in fact clean up dog mess while wearing almost anything by scrubbing the floor in semi-full Faire garb. (I hadn't put my corset on yet, for which I'm most grateful!)
In any case, Halloween means National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow. I've gone a bit off track with my Personal Novel Writing Month, though I did get the 2013 holiday special (mostly) done. I was also intending to write Killdeer, and Killdeer barely got touched... until yesterday, when it suddenly wanted to be written again.
However. I said I was going to do Playing with Fire for this year's NaNo, and Playing with Fire I shall do. I'll just... do Killdeer as well. And Surpassing Danger. And very possibly a Christmas story for my church, entitled "The Case of the Cranky Choir Director: A Christmas Mystery at Our Lady of the Mispronunciation Parish".
But those topics shall be covered this weekend. Today is Thunder Thursday, which means it's time to talk about where I left off in Playing with Fire and where I'll go from here... if only I knew that myself! Glenscar has always been very much a seat-of-my-pants (or skirt) ride. I know my destination, but not how I'm getting there.
My biggest challenge is probably going to be getting back into the register, the set of words and feel of language, that I used in Widow. One of my reviewers praised the way that I invoked dialect, and the phrases and cadence of the time period, but also kept enough modernity and clarity that the dialogue never felt archaic or stilted.
Another challenge is balancing research with creativity. Did people at this time, in this place, really do X and Y this way? Or do I call on artistic license and say, well, these people do it this way, because that's what's going to make my story work? Finding that balance is one of the hardest parts of writing historicals, IMHO.
And then there's the question of certain terms for certain groups of people. Do I use the ones that would have been current at the time, even though today they are sometimes considered pejorative? If I decide to use more exact terminology, how do I even spell it -- as they would have then, or as it's most commonly done today?
My guess would be that most of you, reading Widow, never thought about any of this, or at least I hope you didn't. It's my job, as the writer, to make sure that the workings of the story never show while you're reading it. You should be able to simply absorb the story, be swept along by it, with nothing to rouse you from your fictional dream.
But if, along the way, you learn a few things that you never knew before -- if you stop and read a passage again, and wonder why you never thought of it like that -- or even if you take a moment to look at all the marvels we have in our lives today, and be grateful for them -- then that's my job done, and done well, if I do say so myself.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and don't forget to head over to the Contact Anne form and submit your character for the reader-inspired story going into the combined holiday volume, Christmastime Is Here! I already have seven entries, and I'll draw the winning name on Sunday, November 3, so get yours in soon for your best chance!
I would also just like to add a thank you to a recent poster who realized that they had not been polite and sent an apology. That took courage and I applaud you, along with being sorry in my turn that the Bad Things in my story lined up with some in your life. Here's hoping things get better for you soon, and don't lose hope for the DV either...