Thursday, September 18, 2014

Late night, late Weds check-in ROW80

Late? Yep. Tonight the Inland Northwest Writers Group met downtown for a review and lively discussion of social media, led by writer Tina Bratcher. I went. Took notes. The whole discussion reinforced my sense that social media presents real challenges for writers at any stage in their career. The options for getting involved will keep right on morphing. Lucky is the writer who has fun along the way.  Now for my check-in. Not much to report. I seem to be researching wolves and the Red River community in Manitoba this week.


Letitia Hargrave (Wikipedia)
Writing/Research: Starting off this week with a reasonably word count, 2 out of 3 days of real writing, but I'm still thinking I need to know much more basic history of the period as I move ahead on this story. Can't write what I know until I know it. One of my minor characters is a Metis woman who worked as a servant to the very prolific letter-writer, Letitia Hargrave, the proper English wife of the Chief Factor at York Factory, Upper Manitoba in the 1840s. I would so love to know what Margaret Dunnet thought of what she saw happening around her.  Letitia Hargrave's letters are a goldmine, for she comments quite openly on people and events -- including The Red River boarding school. What draws me to this time and very isolated place is the sharp class divides between people (gender and race). Yet, people had dreams and hopes and somehow survived.

Marketing/Community: Making contact with Australian and British potential reviewers. Prepping for the book reading next Tuesday night. Did attend tonight's writers' group.

WEDS SNIPPET: Wednesday is also that day when I post a 'snippet' from my work in progress, Rivers of Stone (dubbed a 'WIPpet' by K. L. Schwengel). Here's a scene when Cat, at the Red River community on her own, yet still disguised as a boy, works at the local store. How much of a snippet? September 17 = 17 sentences.

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Cat glanced at the three men huddled by the fireplace and nodded. "I'll go around to the kitchen." She pushed the front door open and stepped into the swirling snow. The cold bit her nose but the air smelled so good after the closeness of the store. She hurried along the side of the log cabin to the back and froze to a stop. 

A skinny wolf swayed in front of her. He lifted his head and stared at her. He sniffed at his right front paw caught in a small trap and looked at her again.

Cat backed up until she could feel the logs of the store behind her.

The wolf flopped on the ground, put his head down, and inched toward her, dragging the trap with him. 

He can't hunt with that thing on his foot, thought Cat. She took a tentative step towards him, putting her hand out slowly. "Hush, now."

The wolf nosed the ground and tilted his head away from her.

Cat crouched down and pried the trap apart. The wolf's foot slithered out. For a moment they looked at each other. The wolf leaped up and bolted into the woods.

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May you enjoy the rest of this week with good writing and/or reading. Check in with other ROW80 writers as Round 3 winds down (only one more week to make our goals).

Or drop by K. L. Schwengel's blog to read snippets from other writers willing to share . . . Thank you, Kate!

11 comments:

  1. Beautifully told. I could see the wolf vividly...wanted to follow him into the woods to learn more of his story :-) Cat is a very brave woman. I really like her guts.

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    1. Thank you! Exactly what I was hoping for. Cat will wind up in the woods again. :)

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  2. My first comment is that Letitia was not an attractive woman. Just mentioning it.

    I once again love your excerpt. I cannot wait to read more about Cat's adventures. I too have lots more research to do on my novel - even though I am at chapter 33. I am afraid I may have to go back and make a lot of changes, but so be it.

    Have a great week, Beth. Keep writing and researching!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. Your encouraging words keep me working! I think my themes drive the research, but it's oh-so-tempting to delve into the details and write sideways. Isn't revision what we do? All the best.

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  3. Was this a domesticated wolf? If not I wonder how likely it is that it would have just allowed her to help it like that. Even a domestic animal when hurt can turn mean and snappy because they're in pain, and having its paw in a trap would hurt. Just food for thought. I like that slightly White Fangish vibe.

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    1. Thank you, Sirena. From what I've seen of injured animals (and tales my grandfather told from being out in the wild), I think this scene is true at least in spirit. Wolves are very intelligent. I will do more research! Write on.

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    2. To Sirena's point, if you add a bit more tension first --initially the wolf would probably exhibit more fear-agression. Reacting to Cat's calm attitude it would likely relax.

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  4. I love this scene! There's a video somewhere of black-tailed deer that got stuck on a small "island" when a river overflowed its banks. They swam out to a boat of passing fishermen for help. It's like some animals, even some that are generally fearful of people, know that the right person will help them in a crisis. This happened in Alaska, too, where hunting isn't just a hobby. Even here in Anchorage, many people depend on hunting for much of their meat. Deer don't typically stick around long if they know a human is nearby. Moose, on the other hand, are cheeky, even though they're very tasty. (My apologies to any vegetarians I may have upset. Please understand, this is very much a cultural thing and it is difficult to be a vegetarian up here. Impossible, in some of the villages.)

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  5. I love this. Wolves are so wonderful. I do think this is pretty realistic--wolves have a reputation, but it's largely undeserved. They can be incredibly dog-like, and if they develop an affinity for a human, they're fairly loyal. Not that they aren't dangerous, of course. I like that Cat is brave and kind enough to help the wolf.

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  6. Nice scene for getting a sense of her character across!

    I too love research and can get completely lost in it. It's one of my major time sinks, but I can only hope that in the long run it shows in my writing. I get the same feeling in discussions with a lot of historical novelists -- we just don't have that freedom to plunge forward without figuring out what the hey we're writing about beforehand. :)

    Congrats on your progress and good luck!

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  7. I am loving these bits. I can't help but read each one with a sense of worry that Cat is going to get found out at any moment.

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