Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Jaime Morrow, and Erin Funk are once again hosting the summerlong Ready. Set. Write! initiative. Each week there will be a few headings, with short responses to allow for more writing time.
- How I did on last week’s goal(s)
My goal was to finish Chapter 83 of my WIP, and I totally knocked it out of the ballpark. I’m now up to Chapter 86, “Return to America,” the first chapter of Part IV, “The Good It Is Their Hap to Find.” I knew I had to work quickly since my computer is on its last legs. I’ve also passed the 650K mark and squeezed in lots of research about the Battle of the Bulge, the Allied crossing of the Rhine, and Mauthausen.
Very special fact learnt while researching: Though the U.S. military was segregated at this time, there were a couple of African-Americans among the liberators of Dachau and Mauthausen, as tank drivers and stuff. The vast majority of survivors had never seen a dark-skinned person before, and reacted with complete acceptance and love, not fear and prejudice.
- My goal(s) for this week
Complete Chapter 86 and move onto Chapter 87, “Two Healing Courtships.” I already got some of the work for Chapter 86 (and other future chapters) out of the way by researching the points system used for determining which U.S. and Canadian serviecemen would be sent home after the war, and when. Twenty-one-year-old Osyenka will get lucky and have his name drawn in a lottery to go home early, even though he only has 69 out of the required minimum 85. I also did some ahead of time research on the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which Dmitriy Voroshilov is completing at the very end of the war.
- A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
This is from the emotional brother-sister reunion I was writing towards for the entirety of Part III. I knew Fedya would finally find Dasha in the chapter closing Part III:
Fédya has begun shaking, and can now barely see anything through the grey clouds in his eyes. His knees buckling under, he staggers towards her and throws his arms around her. Almost immediately, he feels his uniform getting wet. Dárya in turn feels his tears raining on her shorn scalp.
“I knew I’d find you. I had to find you. I joined the Army just so I could find you and save you from the Nazis. This was the toughest rescue mission I could’ve imagined, but I stayed alive in each battle since I knew I’d find you at the end. You’re safe now, and as soon as we get you healthy again, you’re going home where you belong. No one’s ever going to hurt you again. I love you so much, Dáshechka. I hope you never forget what a big sacrifice I made to rescue you. Praise Christ you’re alive.”
- The biggest challenge I faced this week
The continued dying of my old workhorse computer, as well as having to get used to the fact that I’ll soon probably have to do all my writing in Pages. It took so many years to come around to Word and become familiar with it, and now I’m losing it. I have Word 2004, so even if I bought Word for my new computer, I’d still have to go through a period of adjustment to a new word processing application.
- Something I love about my WIP
I love how the massive scope and huge canvas have compelled me to research all sorts of subjects for historical accuracy. The sources consulted in my ever-growing bibliography file include the history of Naval nurse uniforms, polio, the French Concession of Shanghai, fashion in the Thirties and Forties, Drancy, homefront rationing, intimacy after amputation, the Battles of Saipan, Tarawa, and Tinian, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, and the U.S. Army’s K-rations.
Baruch Hashem, Part IV isn’t so research-intensive. I’ll be using the creative side of my brain most of all, as I narrate the early postwar years, the return to normalcy, and the lingering wounds of surviving all these dramatic, traumatic events.