It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:
Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?
As I’ve mentioned a number of times prior, a few people in writing groups have point-blank hated my Cinnimin, one even wanting something really bad to happen to her and being happy to learn her dad dies when she’s young. It did shake me to hear such strong words about a character I’ve been with since we were eleven years old and whom so many other people have loved.
Cinni is who she is, even after significantly toning down, radically reworking, or outright removing content from my Atlantic City books which I grew to see as wildly age-inappropriate, way too over the top, and/or mean-spirited. She’s far more spice than sugar, fiesty, sassy, a straight shooter, brutally honest, at times mouthy, a self-admitted daddy’s girl.
I wouldn’t recognize Cinni if she, e.g., hugged someone who taunted her about how her dad is living on borrowed time and proceeded to sing “Kumbaya” instead of punching and yelling at that other girl. I don’t write goody-goodies with charmed, idyllic lives.
More people have loved Cinni and praised her as a great character than have hated her. Not all our stories or characters will resonate with everyone, and that’s perfectly fine.
As expected, my wordcount for Camp NaNo wasn’t that great. I set a lowball goal of only 10K to make sure I wouldn’t fail too badly. My project was continuing my radical rewrite of the book formerly known as The Very Last. Also included were a few blog posts for May.
I didn’t do any proofing of the books I’m preparing for hardcover editions in April, but I know I’m overdue to get back to them and finish up the final spot-checks already!
Also included in my wordcount were most of the notes I made for my alternative history. Seeing as I’ve never written anything Medieval before, and amn’t nearly as back-of-my-hand familiar with the 13th and 14th centuries as I am with the 19th and 20th, it’s really important to get familiar with my setting. Not just the real people and places who’ll appear, but stuff like clothing, education, and food.
Just think, no one in Medieval Europe knew chocolate existed, and Italian cuisine didn’t have tomato sauce. Eating breakfast was looked down upon by the Church as a bad habit, except for small children. There were no nightclothes. People slept nude or in garments like undershirts.
I knew this Peter Pauper Press notebook was the right one for my notes because of the peacock. According to legend, Dante’s mother, Gabriella (Bella), had a dream when she was pregnant with him that she gave birth under a laurel tree by a spring, and her son ate the berries that fell from the tree. Then he drank from the spring and turned into a peacock. This was believed to be a portent of his future greatness.
Peacocks have very positive symbolism across so many different cultures. Among other things, they represent renewal, eternal life, immortality, creativity, joy, nobility, and transcendence.
I’m really looking forward to working on this new project during JuNoWriMo. Seventeen years after I thought of the idea, I finally have a detailed story trajectory and plot points.
My tagline is “What if one of the most famous love stories in history wasn’t unrequited?”