As part of their What’s Up Wednesday feature, Elodie Nowodazkij, Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow will be hosting a summer-long initiative called Ready. Set. Write! Participants will share weekly, monthly, or overall goals in the “What I’m Writing” section of the weekly posts.
What I’m Writing
Once again, due to camp and other factors, I wasn’t as productive with writing this week as in the past. I’m up to about 445,600 words in my current WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest. In spots, I’m really feeling that this is a rough draft and will need some more polishing or fleshing-out, alternately. The most important thing is just to get the meat and outline of the story down on paper.
I’m starting Chapter 55, “Damir’s Best Interests,” in late June 1940. Inna Zhirinovskaya is about to have her first child, by her deposed prince husband Arkadiy (Arkasha) Orlov. Since they’ve made their home in Persia (officially renamed Iran by this point), they’re going to give him a Persian name, Omid, which means “hope.” Shortly after the birth, Inna’s brother Vitya will finally head off for America with his daughter Velira. They’re going to fly in a real aeroplane, to avoid the slowness and uncertainty of taking a boat in wartime.
I’m really looking forward to writing the second-chance love story of Inessa and Vitya. Inessa has been wetnursing and raising Vitya’s son Damir since he was four months old, and Damir has no memories of his birth mother. Her three children by her murdered husband Roman deserve a father, Vitya’s cute, sweet little daughter Velira deserves a mother, and Damir shouldn’t have to lose the only mother he can remember. It’s the most natural thing in the world for them to create a new family when they think they’re only transitioning Damir away from his foster family and to his birth father.
And to think, my outline for this book in 2001 had poor Vitya getting shot in the 1937 purges! I’m so glad I let the story and characters go where they naturally developed, instead of feeling bound to what I’d envisioned at 21.
What I’m Reading
Three Daves, by Nicki Elson. It’s a fun, cute contemporary historical set in the 1980s, in the New Adult and romance categories. I originally got it for my Kindle for a group project on NA in my YA Lit class, but I didn’t have enough time to read the whole thing. Now I’m reading it while my campers are taking their afternoon nap. A Kindle is so much more convenient to read from than lugging around a real book.
What Inspires Me/What Else I’ve Been Up To
Still no stove or sink to work with. This is freaking ridiculous. It should never take nearly this long to kosher a kitchen and get everything in order. This type of thing should always be organized in advance, not only looked into after you’ve moved in.
I’m also finally resuming my Estonian study. The power of the human brain and the processes of language acquisition, retention, and retrieval are very powerful, inspiring things. Since I didn’t practice in awhile, I initially had forgotten some words and phrases I’d known cold not so long ago. But as I kept reviewing the material, the memory connections were reforged. Other words and phrases I had never forgotten, even some rather random words.
You can never really forget a language, even if you become very rusty and don’t use a language in years, even your own native language. Sure you might need some time to review and become fluent or conversational again, but the memories are still there. For example, I studied Spanish for 7 years and haven’t actively used it for some time. But when I read something in Spanish, or review vocabulary and grammar, something clicks and a lot more words come flooding back. It’s not like you go back to learning from scratch. The same goes for reactivating my Russian, German, Italian, or French, or relearning the Armenian alphabet for the 4th or 5th time. You knew it once, and it’s stayed in the recesses of your memory in spite of not constantly using the information.
My roommate overheard me and thought I were practicing Klingon. She’d honestly never heard of Estonia or Estonian. The two sound absolutely nothing alike. Estonian has a soft, musical, poetic lilt with a twinge of sadness, while Klingon is said to have been based on the sounds of Turkish and Mongolian, to give it that harsh, threatening feel.