Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ROW80 Midweek and a WIPpet farewell . . .

This week, the heat spell broke. We've opened the windows all day and are simply enjoying the sweet smell of air without smoke from wildfires. Meanwhile, my quest for that in-depth character analysis for the hero in my WIP continues a little murky. The more I think about Dougal, the less I understand of this shadowy man who abandons his wife. But I'm working up a profile and will persevere. After all, he's the hero.

WIPpet snippet: Here's an excerpt following yet another convoluted math calculation: July 23, 2014, 7 for July + x 2 (second excerpt I'm posting) = 14 paragraphs from the current work-in-progress, Rivers of Stone. Storyline: Cat has disguised herself as a boy to follow her husband, Dougal, and join the Hudson's Bay Company.

Chapter XX: York Factory (August 1842)
Cat ran into the barracks. Dougal was bent over his bunk, making a bedroll of clothing and a heavy blanket. "It's true then."
"I dinna want to tell you."
Surrounded by the other voyageurs packing equally fast, Cat could say nothing. "I suppose I wish you a safe journey."
"It's orders. I can refuse, but it's where we want to go. I dinna want us to stay in this cold hell hole. Sit down, Cat." Dougal pushed her down on the wooden shelf that served as his bed. "I'm being sent west, and you can't come with me. You're not strong eno. Ah, Cat, I'll be back for you."
Cat felt frozen. She knew this day would come, when Dougal would walk out of her life. She stared at the men readying for the journey, anywhere but at Dougal, but she saw nothing. She folded her grimy hands in her lap and wanted to throw up. "'Tis a good thing we dinna marry, then."
"Hush." Dougal cuffed her lightly. "You can't say anything now. You'll be sent back."
"What do I do? Stay here in hopes you'll return?"
"I canna make promises. A lot can happen between here and Fort Vancouver." Dougal took her hand. "There's bears and Indians. I'm not liking this, Cat. Maybe there's a way for you to come west , but I don't know."
"Leavin' your brother behind, are you?" Snarks paused to stare at Dougal and Cat. "He's a little guy, ain't he. Wouldn't last long out there. Dinna worry. We'll keep him safe here. We'll teach him to drink at Red River. Maybe he'll grow some hair on his face afore you get back." Snarks laughed and moved on, his hair hanging long over his face.
Dougal shrugged. "Not that you'll listen, but I'd advise against going down to Red River."
"This is no life for us, Dougal."
"We canna talk here. Meet me on the parade grounds. We'll have a bit of a walk."
"So when do you leave?"

"In the morning. Early."
ROW80 Weds check-in: Wednesday seems to come along so fast after Sunday, so this check-in will be remarkably short!

Writing: Slogging away on character development. Words written 995. Found absolutely great "beat" worksheets on Jamie 's site.

Marketing: More progress by Sunday. Mostly built the to-do list longer.

Community: Finished blurbs for library panel with two other local authors on e-publishing (December) and a workshop on "Building A Writer's Toolkit" for a local bookstore (August 20). 

Going to see J. A. Jance lecture tonight, and finished reading one of her books just in time. More about that later on the writing blog. Currently reading Annette Drake's Bone Girl and finding it tough to put down!

Check in to read other ROW80 updates HERE and post an encouraging word to keep us all motivated on these hot summer days. 

See what others have posted for WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop created by Kate Schwengel at My Random Muse, to encourage writing. And so we write!

22 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying these snippets. I confess I don't read a lot of historical fiction. But I do love stories where women do brave and interesting things that are unusual for their time period, including when they have to pass as men (or boys) to do them. I like these characters, and I want to know them better.

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    1. Thank you, Amy. I'm encouraged that you found these characters appealing.

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  2. That snippet sounds ominous. I don't like him leaving her there.

    Love the speech patterns in this.

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  3. Intriguing excerpt. I hope you plan on sharing more! :)

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    1. Thank you, Denise. I hope to share each week and am making a commitment to do so, though it's hard to post wip in draft stage.

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  4. This is intriguing. I want Cat to go along, whether Dougal knows she's following or not. More, please!

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  5. Well she followed him once, so why not follow him again? I agree with Amy. I rarely read historical, but these characters have me interested.

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    1. Thank you, Adrian. Historically, women who were discovered were immediately returned home on the next ship, so if Cat loses her disguise, she risks a future with Dougal. Yes, I think she would follow him again . . . but maybe not all will work out as she anticipates.

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  6. I absolutely love your use of dialect here. It makes the excerpt so vivid. I want to read more!

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  7. Ugh. No. What? Leave her...but...she followed you this far...came along...kept you warm...I'm feeling all sorts of non-love for Dougal right now. I'm not sure if I want Cat to show her stuff and follow him again anyhow, or tell him to pound dirt and carve out her own life.

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    1. That's exactly where I'm stuck. My previous stories have been told in tandem -- the journey of the heroine AND the hero! But this time, Dougal is murky. I see Cat's path clearly, but his essential betrayal clouds my vision of him as a hero. Still working on this as plodder and pantser!

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  8. I've been on a historical kick lately. Looking forward to reading more of your WIP!

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  9. *gasp* I haven't seen too many of your WIPpets, but I didn't realize Cat was in disguise until just now. Poor girl! What a miserable position to be in.

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    1. Hello, Regi. Interesting comment. There was a time when to be a boy or man meant all kinds of freedoms that were denied to girls and women. So for a young woman to assume a disguise was an act of defiance and liberation. Some would argue this holds true today . . .

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  10. I can commiserate on the murky hero situation - I'm having the same problem! :)

    Yeah, I feel a bit uncomfortable with him leaving her alone. If anyone finds out she's really a woman, I don't like her chances of coming out unscathed. WHAT could possibly lead him to leave her there? It's almost like there's a wall around his heart or something. Something driving him to war and to fighting for something he believes in, perhaps?

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I love that description of "murky hero," not quite the same as a 'bad boy' hero. Sometimes I see this story as Cat's entirely, because the story is about her survival and what she does in response to being abandoned. But without Dougal as a mirror character on his own quest, what does she find at the end of her journey? Interesting to work on plot ahead of time.

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  11. Brutal, Beth. I want to ring Dougal's neck ("ring" versus "wring" intended... maybe if he's chained to the deck he'll get a clue he's not supposed to run off on the woman's who's been standing by him all this time).

    Maybe it'll be better to see Dougal as an "anti-hero". He can still truly heroic things then, but you don't have to feel like you "need to like" him. He can just be himself. Human, flawed, but still trying to do as best as he believes he can. Just a thought.

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    1. Thank you, Eden, for your very helpful comment, especially as I'm at the drafting (figure-out-as-I-go) stage. Dougal is a good guy, a little single-minded, maybe, and finding it a little too easy to leave Cat behind. More grist for journaling!

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  12. After reading the first book, I was wondering about Dougal. Still of two minds after this excerpt. Maybe work a bit more on his protag qualities?

    Congrats on your progress!

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