Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ROW80: Mid-week check-in with thoughts about Hawaii

Just two chapters to go to finish off the first rough draft of Sec05 of Rivers of Stone. What a strange process of writing and editing this is. I start with the main characters, kind of know what they need to do, what challenges they face, and then begin filling in the interactions, the conflict, the story that moves forward. 

But along the way, I need to do more research. What direction was the Columbia River flowing and how fast? How many days did it take to canoe from one location to another? What were the Chinook natives wearing? 

What's fun is the unexpected little gem of history I find along the way. For example, this morning I learned that those really neat young Hawaiian men who came over on trading ships to work for the Hudson's Bay Company (and lark around by wrestling, staging competitions like who could swim the fastest, and dancing the hula), left the Oregon Country almost entirely in the 1840s because the law would not allow either blacks or Hawaiians to own property. Aargh!

But some Hawaiians stayed and married into the Native community. This Vimeo video (of about 4 minutes) captures the sense of family and the larger Hawaiian community that remain connected even today.

Hawaiian and Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest from Dmae Roberts on Vimeo.

I hope to do justice to the Hawaiian characters in my story.

Now for progress so far toward my goals by Sunday, May 28, for A Round of Words in 80 Days   Blue = good progress. Red = Ouch! No progress. Green = Some progress.

  • Writing: Continue to work a minimum of 5 out of 7 days on Rivers of Stone (drafting scenes or editing). Progress? 3 out of 3 days with 4 to go! Finished one chapter, two chapters to go to meet my goal of finishing Section 05 by the end of May. 
  • Blogging: Minimum of 3 posts/week, plus read others x8. Progress? Posted 2x: Today's ROW80 check in and "Monday Morning Musings: Book Reviews" on my writing blog. Read 4 ROW80 writers so far. 
  • Marketing: Work a minimum of 4 out of 7 days. More research than action, but have worked 3 out of 3 days.  Pretty good progress:  Actually requested a review from an Australian reader for Years of Stone. Joined HomeTown Reads, a website that promotes local writers by city. Yay! Spokane has its own site HERE. You can scroll down to see local writers and check to see if your city is part of this nationwide project.
  • Reading/Book Reviews: Nothing yet: Read 2 articles on writing craft. Write at least one review by the end of May on an indie writer. 
  • Decluttering: Goal: E-mails down to 150. Reality: Currently 280, but I've deleted 99 since Sunday.
  • Other: Swim x3 and quilt. So far? Swam once, daily 20 minute walk, and quilted a little. Daydreamed about the next quilting project.
Make it a good week! Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing HERE. Why not jump right in. We'd love to have company, comments, and support your writing journey!

Missionaries Preaching to Hawaiians in Kikui Grove @ 1841
Source: Wikipedia
Click to see larger view.


  1. Hawaiians were about the last group of people I expected to show up in Rivers of Stone. How fascinating. I just love doing research, but I so often end up down a rabbit hole, veering way off topic.
    Best wishes to you on staying on task.

    1. Thank you, Chris. Actually this story started because of a plaque I saw at Fort Vancouver that said something like, "In this fields, Native Americans, Hawaiians, and Scotsmen worked together." And so I was hooked, though the story doesn't really have as much of Hawaiian culture as I had hoped. Thank you for your good wishes. I'm trying to stay on task. :)

  2. I never heard about Hawaiians in the Northwest. How fascinating. You've made great progress on your book. Will look forward to reading it. All the best in the week ahead.

    1. Thank you, Beverley. I did live in Oregon for over 20 years and am still learning that even some of the names of towns and rivers are influenced by those early Hawaiians! I wish it took less than about three years to finish each story! Sign up for my newsletter, and you'll be first to know when RIVERS OF STONE goes live. Thank YOU for your interest.

  3. I strive for diversity in my writing, but it's very difficult! We have so much in common, human to human. It's hard to bring out the differences and nuances without reverting to stereotype.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I agree wholeheartedly. Add the issue of cultural exploitation, the problem of looking from the outside in, and we writers face some challenge to bring our stories to life. I hope what I write shows appreciation and respect, without reinforcing those sterotypes. Sheesh!

  4. Ooh, swimming. I'm hoping to start doing that regularly this summer.
    Love hearing about other writers' research. I had no idea about Hawaiians working for HBC!

  5. An early Oregon woman writer, France's Fuller Victor (1826-1902) wrote a short story called "On the Sands" about the first Oregon surfers from Hawaii. Victor combined the formulaic love story, which was (and still is) what would sell, with a window on Seaside, OR in 1877 or so. It was published in her collection "The New Penelope" in 1877 and reprinted in "The World Begins Hete: An Anthology of Oregon Short Fiction" as part of the Oregon Literature Series 1993. But you probably know all this already!


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