I guest-blogged at Jennifer Lowery’s blog on Monday! Check out my character interview if you’re so inclined.
What I’m Reading
Still reading Helen Rappaport’s The Last Days of the Romanovs. Freud would’ve had a field day with this deeply enmeshed, emotionally incestuous family. It really wasn’t fair to those five kids to be kept so cloistered, deprived any real chances to make outside friends and understand how other, normal people lived. The oldest two girls certainly would’ve been married before the Revolution if they’d had normal parents who encouraged them to leave the nest and become healthy, self-sufficient adults with their own lives.
I think of all those parents who sent their precious children into the arms of strangers during the Shoah, sometimes to foreign countries, and then I think of Nicholas and Aleksandra insisting on keeping their children with them no matter what, even though three of them were legal adults by 1917. Those parents during the Shoah loved their children so much they sent them away so they might live, and many went to their deaths comforted by the thought that at least their children were safe. The more I find out about the last Imperial Family as an adult, the less sympathy I have for Nicky and Alix. They just made disastrous mistake after disastrous mistake after disastrous mistake, without any real awareness of what this meant for themselves and the empire.
Obviously I feel complete sympathy for how they were murdered, but apart from that, I only feel sympathy for their innocent children, punished for their mistakes.
What I’m Writing
Up to Chapter 109 of Journey Through a Dark Forest. 28-year-old Yuriy has had a horrible first year back at veterinary school after being demobbed, all because he’s so hung up on Inga back in New York. He interrupts his yearly vacation at Long Beach on Vancouver Island to come to New York for her 23rd birthday, followed a few days later by her Hunter graduation. He’s going to invite her to come back to Long Beach with him, as a pretended nanny for his little sisters and youngest surrogate cousins.
Inga honestly has no idea her slightly older Canadian penpal has been in love with her almost since they met in August 1942. People have suggested it to her, but she always brushes it off. It’s going to be a big surprise when Yuriy finally confesses in Chapter 110.
My goal for this week is to finish Chapter 109 and be on to Chapter 110. Inga and Yuriy were never a planned couple for this book, so it was a surprise to me too when I got the idea. I’ve been anticipating their move from friends to romantic partners perhaps almost as much as Yuriy! The atheist, unbaptised Inga may also be moved to become Orthodox after going to church with her charges during July and August, so there won’t be the challenge of finding a priest to perform their ceremony.
What Works for Me
Don’t try to shoehorn your WIP into a pre-planned length. I’ve always just written at the length which naturally, organically unfolds. For my Atlantic City books, that tends to be super-short (hence why it’s so obvious the few books over 70,000 words are the most overwritten and in most dire need of intense editing). For my more serious historicals, that tends to be super-long. I had a guesstimate for my primary WIP going in, and surpassed that guesstimate quite a long time ago. Cutting out characters and thus entire storylines just to make it relatively shorter would dramatically alter the character of the entire book.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I added a few more Coloursofts and Inktense pencils to my stash. I later realised I already have a purple Coloursoft, but it’s not like it’s unheard of to have duplicates of a colour you use a lot of. I also picked up three starter watercolour brushes, since you’re kind of not really supposed to use watercolour pencils the way I’ve been doing, dipping the tips into water and then applying to the paper.
I absolutely love Derwent, and would highly recommend their products to anyone. I’m so happy with Coloursoft, Inktense, and Artbars, and would love to try out their Studio coloured pencils as well. Studios have very hard leads, meant for fine details, not regular drawing. They’d probably be a better bet than Prismacolor Verithins, since Derwent’s pencils don’t break all the time.