- How I did on last week’s goal(s)
To get my word count flowing thicker and faster to meet my Camp NaNo goal of 50K, I had to go back to writing out of order. I started the week below par, since I lose pretty much all of Saturday for writing this time of year, when the days are so long and Shabbos doesn’t end till really late.
I wrote 16,000 words, including the backbone of my future note on the House Laws, as part of the document Aleksey writes to liberally revise the House Laws.
- My goal(s) for this week
Finish the 50K goal I set for Camp NaNo! As of now, the sections of this book which need the most filling-out are Part II (about halfway done) and Part IV (only a few chapters partly-written). I also need to fill in a few spots in the short Epilogue, which is based on Deuteronomy 34, the final chapter of the Torah. Every year at Simchat Torah, that finale gives me goosebumps. Longtime regular readers might remember I based the ending of Cinnimin on Deuteronomy 34.
- A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
“I wouldn’t make you walk that distance if I didn’t think you could do it. We never really understand what we’re capable of till we’re right there in the moment. The bounds of a human being are something we can never really comprehend, no matter how much we’re astounded by them.”
(This is based off a line from the late great Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, “The bounds of a human being! No matter how you are astounded by them, you can never comprehend….”)
- The biggest challenge I faced this week
Surprisingly, I had another moment of doubt in having created Arkadiya, the morganatic princess who becomes Tsaritsa and the much-improved replacement for the ridiculous, unrealistic, completely undeveloped commoner Varya. It really does seem as though Princess Ileana of Romania would’ve been the ideal empress-consort for Aleksey, since not only was she already Orthodox, but she was a woman of great strength and compassion. (Princess Ingrid of Sweden, later Queen of Denmark, would’ve been another excellent match.)
I have to remind myself of why I avoided this match. They were second-cousins twice over (sharing both Tsar Aleksandr II and Queen Victoria as great-grandparents), and this what-if match is so popular, it’s kind of cliché and too expected. I think some of it stems from how he told her he’d come back and marry her someday, as though a 9-year-old’s childish promise should’ve been taken seriously.
Aleksey, Ileana, and Prince Nicolae of Romania (from right to left) on the Shtandart yacht in 1914, one of the few pictures where Aleksey is smiling enough to show the gap between his front teeth. He was clearly enjoying the female attention!
I also had a challenge on my secondary blog, and finally decided I had to blacklist the IP and URL of someone who persistently only commented to make negative, rude remarks. Everything was either “That’s not what this name really means” (she doesn’t trust the venerable Behind the Name, and thinks Mike C. doesn’t cite his sources) or “You do realize [opinion] is ridiculous, don’t you?” I just couldn’t take it anymore after the latest rude remark which brushed off the entire post I’d taken the time and effort to intelligently, respectfully create, about my distaste with “translating” proper names. There’s constructive criticism and politely disagreeing, and then there’s just being blunt, rude, and never positive.
- Something I love about my WIP
I love a good dark horse hero, and the chance to make a hero out of an underdog with so much going against him. I love how the eventual leading lady also is an atypical hero. An unlikely Tsar needs an unlikely Tsaritsa.