What’s Up Wednesday

WUWWreath2

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly hop/meme with four simple headings. Anyone can write a post and add the link to Jaime’s blog or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

I’m thinking I might want to reread Donald and Rosemary Crawford’s Michael and Natasha: The Life and Love of Michael II, the Last of the Romanov Tsars. I read it a long time ago, when it was fairly new. Seeing as Grand Duke Mikhail is in my WIP, as the Regent, it might be a good idea to get personally reacquainted with him.

In real life, Grand Duke Mikhail and his secretary Brian Johnson were murdered by Bolsheviks in June 1918 in Perm. Their remains have never been found. While Mikhail was never coronated or officially accepted as Tsar, he did hold that position for one day before abdicating, and it’s just nice to think of the Romanov Dynasty as beginning and ending with a Mikhail.

What I’m Writing

I’m past the 35,000-word mark on my NaNo project, and really hoping I can finish on time in spite of a lingering bug. I’ve been writing out of order, going back and forth between chapters and leaving deliberate gaps to go back to. The 1996 and 2001 original versions have almost nothing to do with what I’m creating at this point. Only the inspiration and a few general ideas remain.

Going back and forth between widely separated sections of the story is helping me get to know my Alyosha as the character I’m creating him as, the person I’d like to think he would’ve developed into anyway had he lived. It’s already established he was very compassionate and sensitive to those who’d suffered, after all the suffering he’d gone through, but I want to translate that into who he becomes as an adult. He’s forced to cultivate more of a quiet, interior life to live as long as possible, and as he watches other people matter-of-factly leading normal, active lives, he feels like the eternal outsider looking in, someone drawn to other underdogs.

Here’s another beautiful picture of my hero, from 1911:

Alexei_Nikolaievich_of_Russia_in_uniform_1911

What Works for Me

Use the setting, geographical and/or historical/contemporary, for a reason. Don’t just write a story set in the 1980s to indulge your own nostalgia or use a Manhattan setting because you think it’s romantic, for example. Make the setting like another character, to the point where we can’t imagine this book set during any other time or place.

You never want to do the Gossip Girl in period clothes thing, where a book set in the past comes across like a fluffy soap opera essentially taking place in the modern era but for some bygone window dressing. I personally think it’s nitpicky to question why a story needs to be set, for example, in 1956 or 1930 and not a more historically interesting year, or the present day. However, once you’ve chosen the setting, make it more than superficial scenery.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

I’ve had some kind of bug since last Sunday, which has taken a lot of my energy many days. Worst of all, it’s mostly manifested as a violent, lingering cough. I’ve gotten very poor sleep, due to the cough and the fact that I can’t lie on my back. To quote the Biblical Patriarch Jakob, “These things always happen to me!”

It’s a wonder I’ve been able to keep up with a decent pace for NaNo while I’ve been inconvenienced. I’ve still managed over 1,000 words each day, sometimes much more than that. It depends on how I’m feeling overall. While I’ve been convalescing, I’ve been watching a lot of old Rap Critic episodes, which are just as funny after multiple views.

Also, my 14-year anniversary for my favouritest album, The Who’s Quadrophenia, was 18 November. Words can never express how very, very much I love this record and how very much it’s meant to me over the years.

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9 comments on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. denizb33 says:

    Hope you feel better soon! Sounds like you’re doing great with NaNo.

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  2. Jess Gofton says:

    Oh dear, I hope you’re feeling better soon! It sounds like you’re making great progress with your NaNo project all the same. 🙂

    I agree – I think historical settings should try and be more than just a superficial setting, but I think most of the time writers who have a fondness for a certain era usually try to make it as authentic as they can anyway. ^__^

    Have a lovely week!

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  3. I’m writing my NaNo project out of order too! So weird for me, but it’s helping me bank words, so whatever. 🙂 Sounds like you’re doing awesome, Carrie-Anne. I hope you feel better soon so you can finish the month strong!

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  4. cheriereich says:

    It sounds like you’re doing great with NaNo despite not feeling well. I hope you get better soon!

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  5. Whew! You are killing it with NaNo! Keep at it. (But get some rest too, eh?)

    For me, a historical setting totally has to have an ambiance. If it doesn’t create the mood you’re after, it’s probably the wrong time period.

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

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  6. Jaime Morrow says:

    Wow! It sounds like you’re doing really well with NaNo. That’s awesome! I tend to write out of order myself. A read an interview with an author one time who said that writing out of order meant that she was always writing because she got to write the scene she was in the mood for on any given day. That totally works for me, too! Plus, if there are any scenes you’re finding you never want to work on, well, that’s a good sign that something about the scene needs to change to make it more compelling. Anyway, I hope it continues to go well despite the bug. And I hope you’re feeling better soon, Carrie-Anne! 🙂

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  7. Kate Scott says:

    I love the picture of your young hero. I’m so impressed with all the research you, and every other historical author, put into your writing. There is a reason I write contemporary. It’s called laziness 🙂

    Have a great week!

    Like

  8. Miss Cole says:

    Hope you feel better soon!

    Looks like NaNo is going really well for you 😀 And what an amazing photo. Very inspiring for a story from a different era.

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  9. Two of my children have had that same bug. I hope the cough goes away soon, and that it doesn’t stop you from finishing strong! Your WIP is always interesting to me, and I’m glad to see you making progress on it. Have a great week.

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