Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ROW80 Queen of BLT . . . Late but here!

This week I'm the Queen of BLT. As Allen recovers from back surgery, he cannot bend, lift, or twist, or as we've dubbed it, "no BLT." Maybe the toughest part of this experience has been seeing someone I love in pain and not being able to do much about it. So, he's slowly recovering, I'm exhausted, and my new secret weapon is an ice cream called "Chocolate Brownie Thunder." Not to worry, though, no weight gain involved. So far.

ROW80 Update: Not much writing since Sunday. I have a pretty clear idea of how to tighten Section 1 in Rivers of Stone (that current wip with volcanos and mountains and polar bears), but the result is not many new words, so I can't rely on increased word count to motivate me. I'm seeing more "want to" than "done" on my daily journal. But maybe this week and next, I just will do what I can.

Weds WIP: Today's snippet comes from my current Section 1, Rivers of Stone. September (9th month) + 1 for the first week = 10 paragraphs. 

Context:  Orkneyman Dougal and Cat, his wife, disguised as a boy, have joind the Hudson's Bay Company with younger brother Colin. It's late summer, 1842, they've landed at York Factory (Upper Manitoba), and Dougal meets with John Hargrave, Chief Factor, to learn his assignment.

“The M├ętis, sir?  I don’t know much about them.”
“You’ve seen them around the Factory, half-French, half-Indian. They wind up working for us as guides, sometimes on the Fur Brigade, but they don’t always show up, unless they want their pay.” Hargrave sighed. “And sometimes not even then. The Company used to encourage intermarriage.” He stared straight at Dougal and frowned. “But not if you want to advance. The voyageurs are a rough lot. Just as ready to fight as they are to drink. You’ll see. We’re short a few men. I’m sending you out on the Fur Brigade.”
“That’s what I hoped for, sir. But my two brothers both hired on with me. Can they come west as well?”
“Are they strong men, like you?”
“They’re hard workers, sir. Colin’s next oldest. He’s near eighteen and Cat, we call him Cat, is younger.”
“How young?”
Dougal thought as fast as he could.  “Fifteen, sir.”
Hargrave gave him a hard stare. “He’s too young to go.”
“Cat’s a good worker, sir.” Dougal leaned forward. “He can read and write.  Ever since we heard about the Fur Brigade Express, sir, he wants to go.”
“Reading and writing won’t help him on the road. He’s still too young. Tell him to report for duty at the Trading House. I can use another copyist. He can bunk at the Clerks’ House.” Hargrave sniffed. “He’s too young to be in the barracks. And you, tell Jacques Fronteneau that you and your other brother, not the younger one, have been added to the roster.” Hargrave made a note in his ledger book. “I’ll need that youngest brother of yours to start today. We’re still taking pelts in as fast as we can. That’s all, McDonnell.”
Frances Anne Hopkins, "Voyageurs at Dawn, 1871" (Wikipedia)

Check in with other ROW80 writers HERE.

And read what other WIPpet writers have written HERE. You might start with Kate Schwengel's post about a giveaway . . . 

May your week go well.


12 comments:

  1. Oh, dear. Looks like they're going to be separated. I wonder what that will mean for both Dougal and Cat.

    Chocolate Brownie Thunder sounds delicious. And would also make a good name for a rock band. LOL!

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    1. Thank you, Amy. I'm just finishing the draft of Section 1 which does lead to Cat and Dougal being separated. That's what happens next!

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  2. I want ice cream now, but can't have it because I'm on a diet. Darn. Sigh. Oh well. Back to the story. I think if they're going to be separated, at least Cat is going to be somewhere that she doesn't have to be staying with a lot of men that could find out she's is not a he.

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    1. Thank you, Sirena, for reading! Actually, I'm having fun with the old "what could go wrong here" as Dougal's premise is that Cat will be safe at York Factory. Hehehehe.

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  3. Uh-oh. Well, I suppose we can't say he didn't try, right? I'm wondering if Cat will stay behind or just follow along. At least a job as a copyist sounds relatively safe.

    That ice cream sounds divine. Of course, BLT had me thinking bacon, lettuce and tomato, so we'll just have ice cream for dessert. :)

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    1. Ah, my reign as Queen of BLT will last at least for the next month, but that's OK. Allen's a little better each day, the old two steps forward, one back. My fall back is the ice cream -- and the writing. Relatively safe? That's not a writer's dream!

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  4. Now I'm hungry for ice-cream. :-)

    Sounds like a neat story. Hang tight, everyone has an off week. Next week will be better!

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. I am hoping next week will lead to more writing productivity . . . the story is starting to hang together! May your own writing go well.

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  5. Love the picture. The excerpt is intriguing. Not so sure there would be that much concern about someone being young, however. It was a different time back then. Children worked regularly. My granddad (early 20th century) went into the limestone mines at age 10.

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    1. Hello, Xina. The voyageurs did have a very strenuous job that began often at 3 am in the morning, with 14 hours of rowing. Add portages and heavy cargo. Sometimes they did take younger people (apprentices) along, but as passengers . . . at least that's what I've discovered so far in my research. Re the images, I find those old images feed right into my writing. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  6. Chocolate Brownie Thunder sounds heavenly!

    There's some really good tension in this scene - I can definitely sense McDonnell's discomfort about being separated from his youngest brother. Not knowing very much about the period or the industry, I'm curious what's going to happen to all of them now.

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    1. Hello, Emily. Glad you caught Dougal's discomfort on being separated from his "youngest brother" (actually, his wife in disguise). It's fun to stir the plot pot. Thanks for caring about these characters.

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