RSW Second Update


Ready. Set. Write! is a summer-long initiative hosted by Alison MillerKaty UppermanElodie NowodazkijJaime Morrow, and Erin Funk. Each week, participants post brief updates under five headings.

● How I did on last week’s goal(s)

I didn’t finish Part I as hoped, but I did break the 100K mark. Ever since going back to this story in November, it’s been hardest to write the Part I chapters, since they’re closest to the real-life murders of my characters. I’m writing about these people readjusting to their old life when they were really in dignityless graves. I did the most work on Part III by far during NaNo, and a bit on Parts IV and II. I had to start Part I before, and I have to finish it now, but it’s just emotionally challenging.

● My goal(s) for this week

Finish Part I and start doing more work on Part II. I recently made a table of contents, so I know what goes where, and I decided Part II will span August 1922–August 1929. At least half of it is set in the Belleville section of the Twentieth Arrondissement, and then it returns to St. Petersburg.

● A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

[Grand Duke Mikhail, the Regent] “And that’s another thing.  You and his sisters really need to stop calling him Baby.  That’s a really embarrassing nickname for a fourteen-year-old.”

The Dowager Empress shook her head. “Perhaps captivity made you all go balmy, on top of how Baby was already coddled too much by his mother.”

“Who are you to talk about coddling when you’re still calling him Baby, like he’s two years old?” Natálya asked. “That’s a very big disconnect in thought and behavior.”

● The biggest challenge I faced this week (e.g., finding time to write, getting sick, having writer’s block, etc.)

It can be a little depressing and creepy to think about how so many of my characters were murdered in real life, and didn’t have these miraculous rescues and happy continued lives. There have been times I’ve been too overwhelmed by emotions to write, thinking about what happened to my protagonist in real life. There were tears pouring down my face as I wrote the freeverse poem which opens the book.

● Something I love about my WIP

Getting to do so much research into late Imperial Russia, after so many years of being immersed in Russian history from 1917 onwards. I certainly have studied a lot about the Ryurikovich and Romanov rulers, but I never really did a lot of research into the palaces, the cathedrals, and people outside of the Tsar’s immediate family.

11 thoughts on “RSW Second Update

  1. Creating a table of contents for a story is a great idea. I guess it’s like a loose outline in a way. I can see that really helping with remembering where everything is in a story, especially an epic one with a high word count. Great tip! Good luck this week, Carrie-Anne! 🙂


  2. Congrats on reaching the 100K mark! And I hope you can finish Part 1! 🙂

    Researching Imperial Russia would be neat…and probably a little exhausting. At least it sounds exhausting to me.


  3. Nice work on meeting the 100K mark. This story sounds so very epic and intricate. I’m sorry that it’s been so emotionally draining, but that usually means you’re really invested. Don’t forget to take care of yourself if you need to! Balance your work with something lighthearted. Good luck on meeting your goals this week!!


  4. Great job on the 100K! And while I don’t like to see anyone cry, I love that your story and your character are stirring up such emotions. Hope you have a great week!


  5. When you wrote “balmy” did you mean “barmy” (British slang for crazy?). And, because it occurs so often, are you deliberately using modern and anachronistic expressions in the dialogue to make the characters connect to the reader in a more immediate way, such as the use of ‘disconnect’ as a noun? If so, it’s a very brave and refreshing approach.


    • “Balmy” is a term I picked up from Laurel and Hardy (I think from their 1940 film A Chump at Oxford). It also has the general meaning of “crazy.”

      I never thought of it that way, but having some more modern words certainly could help with having more of a connection. Though I do avoid words which I know didn’t exist in a certain era, like sexist, brainwashed, and reprogram.


  6. Wow! 100K, that’s awesome! I never knew much about Russian history–they certainly don’t teach much of it in school, at least not when I was in school–but my husband was learning Russian when we started dating and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn a little about it all. It’s definitely fascinating stuff, and I love that you’re giving all those ill-fated souls a new ending! 🙂


  7. Congratulations on getting past 100k in this WIP! That’s fantastic even if you didn’t quite finish up Part 1 as you’d hoped. Good luck with your goals this week!


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