Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Unexpected reaction

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a necklace after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

They retired to another room speaking privately, and though Bogdana agreed to be his girlfriend, she’s still not entirely convinced Achilles could really want someone as supposedly damaged as herself. She just removed her wig to let him see her real hair, which is slowly growing back from being shaved, and Achilles said it’s surprisingly cute.

Achilles rubs her shoulders. “Why don’t you stand up so I can hug you? I’ve wanted to do that for so long, but didn’t want to frighten you or violate doctor-patient boundaries. Do you feel safe doing that? I’ll understand if you’re still too afraid of having such close contact with men.”

“I’m always safe with my Achilles, my modern-day Greek hero.” Bogdana slowly stands up.

The moment Achilles’s arms encircle her, she freezes and begins gasping for breath. She closes her eyes and tries to raise her arms to push him away, but her entire body is immobilized. The ringing in her ears is deafening.

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Uncovered hair

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a necklace after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

They’re now in another room speaking privately, and though Bogdana has agreed to be his girlfriend, she’s still not entirely convinced Achilles could really want someone as supposedly damaged as herself.

Achilles gently strokes her face. “The only disgusting people are the ones who robbed you of your sense of safety and normalcy. Whether you believe it or not, I’ve chosen you above all others to love and cherish. You’ll be so pampered, loved, and protected for the rest of your life.” He touches her wig again. “May I please see your real hair? I only saw it the night we met, before you shaved it.”

Bogdana closes her eyes as she removes her wig. She bursts into tears when she feels Achilles tenderly stroking her very short natural hair.

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Slowly but surely

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a necklace after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

They went to another room to speak privately, and Achilles asked Bogdana to be his girlfriend. As much as Bogdana likes him, she’s still not entirely convinced he could really want someone as supposedly damaged as herself.

Achilles’s first line means “I love you, my beautiful Bogusya, I love you so much” in his native language Slovenian.

“Ljubim te, moja lepa Bogusya, ljubim te močno. There’s been so much love in my heart with nowhere to go since I lost Sabina, and now that I’ve found another sweetheart, I’ll spend the rest of my life showering you with all that love every single second.” Achilles gently strokes her wig. “May I see your real hair? Don’t tell me you’ve kept shaving it like a concentration-camp victim.”

“I would if I could get away with it. It’s still very ugly and unfeminine.”

Achilles kisses each hand in turn. “Don’t tell me you’re so shy about uncovering your hair after I’ve seen and touched the most intimate parts of your body multiple times.”

Bogdana turns bright red.

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—The most genuine gift

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. She didn’t expect her friend Achilles to visit with roses and a heart-shaped rose quartz necklace after their awkward last encounter in the underground clinic where Achilles assists.

They went to another room to speak privately, and Achilles asked Bogdana to be his girlfriend. As mutual as the attraction is, and as much as Achilles keeps insisting he doesn’t see her as damaged and unworthy, Bogdana won’t let herself believe this is real. Now, finally, she consents to let Achilles put the necklace on her.

Bogdana begins sobbing even harder. “Before I was attacked, I would’ve laughed at this as childish, cheap, and insulting. Now it’s the sweetest, most genuine thing in the world.”

Achilles rubs her shoulders. “You don’t have to be my woman if you don’t like me, but I’d be the happiest guy in the city if you say yes and take my heart.”

“Are you absolutely sure you want a vile whore like me?”

“I keep telling you, I don’t see you like that at all. I want to heal your heart, your mind, your soul, if you’ll have me.”

Bogdana slumps into a chair and lets Achilles fasten the necklace around her. She sobs from deep in her soul as Achilles kneels beside her and takes her hands.

Posted in Fourth Russian novel, Writing

IWSG—March odds and sods

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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:

Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

I had to think about this one for awhile before thinking of the very proletarian custom of eating in the kitchen. Until I was about twelve, I thought everyone ate in the kitchen and saved dining rooms, if they had them, for very special meals. Then I discovered the bourgeoisie and wealthy never eat in kitchens if they can help it!

Thus, many of my characters eat in the kitchen because there’s no dining room in their home, or the dining room is reserved for special occasions.

Full disclosure: As proud as I am of my deeply proletarian roots on both sides of my family, and as hard as it is for me to relate to people raised bourgeois, most of my tastes and interests are anything but proletarian!

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Early last month, Word decided to install updates on its own volition, and I found myself locked out from updating or creating files because my father (whom I got my copy from) elected not to renew membership. Just when I finally felt fully comfortable with Word again! It’s back to Pages for now.

My external mouse has also been giving me grief. It often doesn’t work in the left USB port, and sometimes temporarily gives out in the right as well. Briefly disconnecting it tends to work, but other times only a restart fixes it. It’s a good thing the cable stretches far enough for the mouse to still be on the left side when it’s plugged into the right USB.

I finished going over the proof of The Twelfth Time, and now have to correct the TOC before submitting the new file for hopefully the final going-over. I also finally found solutions for the seemingly trickiest sections of Dark Forest in those second edition edits. They weren’t nearly as difficult as I feared.

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I’ve been having so many headaches over A Dream Deferred, constantly going back and forth over where the Konevs should live and go to school when they return to New York, even after declaring in “2019 in review (Writing)” that I’d come to final decisions. I even began thinking about them staying in Minnesota after all!

I fully own to up my failure to outline new storylines and chapters as they came up, which has led to an embarrassing, very uncharacteristic, snowballing strategy of stuffing in everything but the kitchen sink. Several storylines and hints of future developments feel so detached from the main plots, just kind of hanging out in the background and being trotted out every so often to remind the reader they still exist. They’d work so much better moved into the fifth book.

Other storylines were abandoned or altered in media res. I’m normally not this unfocused and bloated, even deliberately writing at saga length!

I’m now set on my original plan of Lyuba getting a scholarship from Columbia. Ivan won’t get his master’s right away, but be invited to study at the Art Students League of NY in Greenwich Village. The Konevs will live in an apartment in the Kalviks’ building in the UWS, an early cooperative, instead of a condo by any other name downtown.

For their part, the Kalviks will downsize to a smaller apartment in the building and give their penthouse to the Zyuganovs, who desperately need a housing upgrade.

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Have you ever literally lost the plot while writing, a storyline or entire book just running away from you and becoming more complicated the more you try to fix it? Have you ever decided to move something into a later book in a series?