Week #2 finds me sadly behind my word count goal. Rather than the bright and hopeful at-least-5,000 words I was hoping to have, I sit at the computer, my open document rather proudly declaring that it has kept me from attaining more than 2,000. But I think I am finally getting the hang of things, and as my word count goal was not enormous, I am still hopeful of finishing on time.
(Susannah Dixon, if you're this feisty with strawberry-blonde hair, I am extremely glad I never made you a full-fledged redhead.)
Be truthful. How has the first week-and-a-half of your personal writing challenge progressed?
Not so well. In fact, I've written about as much in total as I would normally write on a good day.
Did you reach your weekly goal or wordcount?
I didn't make a literal goal, but I'm not quite as far as I'd hoped.
Are you finding it easier to work with a goal in mind? Or does it make you nervous and even less inclined to get the work done?
Ahh . . . both, I suppose. A goal scares me into getting at least a little writing done, as if the Word Count Police are going to beat down my door and hold me hostage if I don't reach 20,000 words (where on earth do I get these ideas?). To be brutally honest, though, nothing motivates me more than a visit from good, solid Inspiration, and she hasn't come a'knocking since I first came up with the idea for Rifles.
Did you do most of your writing in the morning, afternoon, or evening? When do you like to write?
I like to write in the morning, because the house is quiet, and I am more or less distraction-free. I've tried to write in the afternoon, and it doesn't work quite so well.
What music has been inspiring you to write?
I think iTunes is going to break down if I play Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars one more time. In a roundabout sort of way, it has become the theme of this book. I've also been listening to my favorite movie scores, including Braveheart, Titanic, and The Patriot (I haven't seen the first two and don't necessarily endorse them, etc., etc., etc.). I tried Les Mis, but it was far too distracting for writing.
Share a snippet of your writing!
“Oh, papa, you know what they say among each other. Even when we’re in the same room, they just lower their voices to a whisper and go on chatting.” She took a slow sip of tea, careful not to laugh this time. “Nearly every single one of the ladies at the surrounding plantations thinks you ought to be married, and I should be paraded about in my finest gowns, playing the pianoforte at parties and other such nonsense.”
“There’s nothing wrong with performing at gatherings,” Mr. Dixon admonished his daughter, buttering a biscuit with one hand and trying to force the little sugar icebergs in his tea to dissolve with the other.
“Of course not, but when the neighbor ladies say it only because they think you need a string of beaus — nearly four or five at least, I should guess — it rather makes a body want to stay within her house’s four walls and never play an instrument again.”
“Now, daughter, you mustn’t be so harsh on Mrs. Williams, or any of the ladies of the neighborhood who invite you over. They only want your company, you know.”
“Yes, papa, but must they do it so frequently? It is as if they think I sit at home just dreaming of the day I will be released from my confinement!” And with that, she threw her teaspoon down so angrily that her teacup rattled in its saucer.
Seeing his sugar lumps finally going under, thanks to his daughter’s disturbance, Mr. Dixon only opened his newspaper and began reading it once more. His voice came from behind the inky pages, “Susannah, I think you should visit Mrs. Willams.”
— Rifles in the South Field
Share your favorite "Ah-HA!" writing moment. Have you written anything that made you sit back and think, "Okay, this is awesome," during the last week and half?
Yes, I have, actually. Saturday afternoon I made the pivotal decision to put aside everything I had written already and start anew. The story was sounding like a flat version of Elsie Dinsmore, which wasn't my original intent. Instead of starting at the beginning, I picked a scene that I had been anticipating for some time and just wrote. That was when I first caught a snippet of Susannah's voice, as well as the way Mr. Dixon views his daughter and life in general. It was eye-opening, especially when Bree told me, "I think this is your best yet — even better than anything in Violets Are Blue." And hearing someone say that just warms the cockles of any author's heart.
Any problem spots, scenes that are proving hard to work, or characters giving you grief? If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?
Susannah, as previously mentioned, is proving terrible in everyday scenes. Which is strange, really, because she's supposed to be the level-headed daughter who is "regular as a clock and twice as steady." But apparently she much prefers speaking in icy tones and going off in dramatic exits to sipping tea and discussing the weather.
When I realized she was going to be difficult, I gave her exactly what she wanted and wrote the dramatic scene brewing in my mind. Pleased with herself, she is now far easier to write, although the girl has warned me not to make her say certain things. We still wrangle with each other at times, but the road ahead is smoothing out.
Share your favorite line said by a character during this week-and-a-half of writing.
“Papa, Papa, please don’t leave me.”
How are you going to move forward in this challenge? It's been little more than a week-and-a-half since the start (July 4th). Are you changing your wordcount or page goal for this coming week?