If I work at the micro-scene level, sinking down into the character and 'feeling' what his or her greatest concerns are, the scene develops. Understanding what my characters feel -- positive and negative -- help me tell their story.
External conflict remains my biggest challenge, but if I recognize that some people really are just jerks, my story can have one or two of these folks. But I see a difference between someone who is an insensitive bully, though, and someone who is intrinsically evil. It's that second category that I have trouble with.
For example, one of Yahoo's lead stories today is about the 10 top companies who, despite high profits, pay the lowest wages to their employees -- excluding management. The list includes WalMart, Sears, Kroger, somewhat expected, and then Starbucks, MacDonald's, and Macy's, unexpected.
Here is where I take a lesson for conflict. For what bothers me is that calculating decision that sets aside the human factor. Management defends itself by saying it's about the business of making money.
How this relates to my story can be seen in 'business' decisions that encouraged 19th Century voyageurs and fur traders to marry Native wives so that trade would function more smoothly. So I need to put this hat on when thinking of the Chief Factors at each post as well as remembering the very clear social class lines that affected everyone. For the children of those 'mixed marriages' were not promoted. Were they angry? Hah! More research needed.
BTW, my best research this week: Nancy Marguerite Anderson's neat site that chronicles journal highlights from fur traders. Her work is based on her study of her grandfather, the famous explorer of the Pacific Northwest, but takes in much more history, all of it fascinating to me. Most likely Alexander Caulfield Anderson was a Swede, most likely not related to my great-grandfather, a doctor in Chicago, also an Anderson. Can't wait to read her book, The Pathfinder.
Snippet from today's Nano 500 words for Rivers of Stone:
Dougal found Colin sleeping by one of the canoes. He unpacked a blanket and rolled in it, but even as he slowly warmed up, he lay, looking at the star-filled sky and thinking of Cat. Someone took slow, careful steps toward the canoes. Dougal raised up. "Who's there?"
"Touchy bastard, ain't you. Thought I'd find you here. And no surprise, Colin as well." Louis squatted beside Dougal. "Yer in luck. We're short a few men. Colin's back in."
"Don't worry. He'll carry his weight, or you'll make up the difference. Best get him up. We leave in a little bit."
Dougal rolled his blanket up and gathered his kit into a bundle. He nudged Colin. "Hist, are ye packed already? We're going out."
"Now?" asked Colin. "Don't worry. I got my stuff right here. I slept on it." He sat up suddenly. "Really? I'm really to go?"
"Aye," said Dougal. "Thank Louis when you have the chance."
Around them, the voyageurs made their way down to the canoes, surly from hangovers, some still drunk.
"You got any more of that rotgut?" called one of the men. "My head hurts something fierce."
Progress on ROW80 Goals this week.
1. Write those 500 words a day on Rivers of Stone.Still writing over 500 a day! Whoopee, a miracle!
2. Complete pending book reviews x 2. Finished one review for Mike Young's Kirk's Landing; nearly done reading the second one.
3. Keep working the final edits for Standing Stones. Maybe draft pre-launch activities. Still would like to publish before my birthday -- and that's December 6th! Two days of editing, then nada. Maybe next week.
4. Participate in ROW80 x10. Done!
5. Follow blog schedule by posting 5x out of 7 days. Surprised myself! 6 out of 7 days on three different blogs. :)
6. Celebrate Egypt presentation behind me (due day Monday, Nov 18). Almost. Hard at work on revisions.
7. Declutter, quilt, cook good meals, exercise 3x, and cherish each day. Doing pretty good here. No quilting, but I made a really good chicken/pasta/broccoli dish that will last 3 days. Exercised 2x. Hanging in there.
8. Don't listen to that nagging inner voice! Keep writing. I need this statement tattooed on the inside of my forehead!
Make it a good week! To read about those 10 Companies, click on Yahoo! And may your writing go well.
|God's River (near Hayes River), Manitoba|
Picture by Redpaddle on Flickr