Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax

05 August 2013

Being that I'm shamefully behind on answering the Actually Finishing Something [in] July questions, I thought it would make the most sense to combine the surveys from the past two weeks into one post. (Otherwise, I'd be publishing the last section of questions some time in mid-August.) Thus, I give you

an orderly mishmash of the questions for weeks four & five

How goes progress? Did you reach your goal?

My first goal was to reorganize the plot of Rifles, which mainly consisted of connecting loose threads and adding layers to the most general plot points. After that, I hoped to settle into a habit of writing as regularly as I am able. Though my actual wordcount for this month is not significant, I am happy to say that I've accomplished both goals. Rifles now has a coherent outline (complete with chapter titles!), and I've been working steadily on the sections that have yet to be penned. The rest of the book stretches before me in a neat and orderly line, and though I expect new ideas will pop in and out and do everything they can to disturb the outline (what fun would writing be if that were not the case?), I feel much more confident about venturing forth. That is enough to make July a success in my mind.

If you didn't fully complete your goal, were you able to make a good amount of progress in your project?

Yes, as I mentioned above, I was. In the past year or so, I've been spending most of my time writing from Susannah's perspective, with an occasional scene by Kenneth thrown in as the mood strikes me. This month, however, has been spent entirely in a certain British gentleman's head, and I've loved getting to know him better throughout the process. 

What was the most difficult part of finishing something this July?

Staying diligent and not procrastinating (my greatest fault) when a scene didn't lend itself to easy writing.

Did you maintain a writing schedule? How often did you write to meet your goal?

I think I wrote a little every other day. I'd love to say I wrote every day, but alas, that did not happen.

Snippet-time! Share as much, or as little, as you choose.

He was using every weapon he possessed, but Kenneth knew each one and none could catch him off guard. He wouldn’t give his friend the pleasure of stabbing at an old wound. Let Alec try; let him hurl each barbed insult and expectation with all the accuracy of a skilled archer. They only glanced off his soul like flimsy arrows against an impenetrable shield.
Rifles in the South Field

Damp prickles of sweat slid from the back of her neck and down her back. Susannah dropped the quill and fanned, forgetting her worries momentarily, but the flimsy device only crackled dully and made little difference. The house was thick with flies and mosquitoes, and outside the air whirred with the sound of a thousand cicadas holding court. She knew now why the Fitzgeralds had traveled north for the summer. She rather wished she'd gone with them.
Rifles in the South Field

Resentment settled coldly in the back of his throat. It tasted like the tonic he'd been forced to take as a child on occasion.
Rifles in the South Field

One death is enough for a family,” he answered firmly.
“And what if Mother England requires more of her children?”
“She’ll see what it’s like to taste disappointment for once.”
Rifles in the South Field

Do you have a Pinterest inspiration board, or other collection of images, that inspire your story? If so, share one or two of them with us.

These are all from my storyboard for Rifles in the South Field on Pinterest.

How would the main character of your story react if he or she were introduced to you?

Susannah's a pleasant young lady, steady and efficient as a clock. She'd welcome me into her home, pour me a cup of steaming tea, and ask me very politely if I took cream or sugar. In only a short period of time, we would be chatting away like old friends. Kenneth, on the other hand, would probably regard me with a measure of disdain and disinterest, and after five minutes would deem me unworthy of his attention. He's an aloof chap who takes poorly to new acquaintances. 

Introduce us to one or two of the secondary characters in your story.

Leonard Williams, nephew to Mrs. O' Hara, is an illustrious and learned gentleman who has spent several of the past years in an equally illustrious and learned English university. Loyal to king and country, he considers Susannah Dixon's own patriot leanings scandalous . . . but that doesn't keep him from attempting to win her hand.

Lucy is Aunt Nelly's niece and Susannah's faithful lady's maid. Her long acquaintance with her mistress allows her to speak her mind a bit more freely than most of the plantation's slaves. She's fiercely devoted to the Dixons and would do anything for them.

If one of your characters (you choose who) were allowed to choose a super-power, which power would he or she most desire?

Eva Hughes wouldn't mind having a heightened sense of hearing. She's always dying to know what people say about her when she's out of the room.

List some of the musical tracks/artists you listened to most frequently this July. Tell us why they inspired you and how they fit with your story.

There were only a few tracks that directly affected my book this month — "The Highwayman" by Loreena McKennitt, which I played so many times I'm surprised I'm not sick of it; "For the Love of a Princess" and other tracks from the Braveheart official film score, which regularly accompany my writing; and a new favorite, "Paradise" by Coldplay, which reminds me a great deal of some of the earliest scenes in Rifles. As for these songs' influence on my book's plot, I shall only say that they have influenced it, but if I were to share how, my post would turn into one big spoiler. You'll just have to wait and see . . . !

Pick a character from your July writing project and describe his or her daily wardrobe. Imagine how this character would dress is he or she were living in the year 2013. 

Susannah dresses simply for her time. She chooses to wear gowns that are feminine but serviceable, and as she's always moving, she doesn't like to be hindered by too many frills and feathers. Most of her daygowns are made of flowered cotton and linen, and she tucks her strawberry blonde curls into a mobcap at the day's start to keep them from falling in her eyes.

As for her modern ensemble, I was inspired by Bree's and Jenny's beautiful Polyvore sets to make one of my own. Susannah would prefer jeans to a skirt or dress because they allow her easier movement, and her large tote has plenty of space for holding anything and everything. Turquoise and gold are good colors on her, so I've implemented touches of it here and there. A pretty pair of flats complete the look (I have a feeling she'd be uncomfortable in heels).
Modern Susannah Dixon

Bonus Question (skip if so desired--I shan't be offended)! What was your favorite part of Actually Finishing Something [in] July? What could be done next year to improve the challenge?

I appreciate the push it gives me to put my nose to the grindstone and get to work (an attitude not easily fostered in the dozy summer months). The weekly accountability is quite helpful, and I love reading what everyone else is writing as well as sharing my own snippets. I can't think of anything that needs improvement. Thank you again, Katie, for hosting this challenge — it's been great fun!

9 epistles:

  1. I simply LOVE the last snippet, Lizzy. :) There was a snippet on another post that particularly struck my fancy as well, though I can't recall it now. I have a mind that it was similar in wit as this, however. :)

    Oh, and I am a great procrastinator as well. If I never end up becoming a published author, I just might consider making it my profession... Shall we go into business together? ;)

    1. I would love to go into business with you, but I'm afraid we'd be far too successful for our own good. :P I'm glad you enjoyed the snippets!

  2. I am looking forward to this book!!!!! Keep writing! God bless!!!!

  3. The second-last snippet is my favorite, but all were rather good! :)
    You already know how I feel about those Rifles photos. <3
    Oh, and Susannah's style seems quite a bit like yours. Lovely, as usual. :)


    1. I happen to be quite fond of that outfit myself, though I don't have enough red in my hair to set off the turquoise as Susannah could. Unfortunately, to mantain such a style would require more funds than I currently possess. But that's what thrifting and sales are for, right?

  4. Hello! I'm rather new to your blog, and I think it's just lovely. I was browsing, and when I clicked on your "Write Me" bar, it did not work. I thought I'd let you know. :) I would love to contact you and ask about your writing, if that wouldn't be a problem. :)

    Again, lovely blog. I'm so glad I stumbled upon it!

    1. Hello, Maddie Rose! Thank you for your sweet comment! I'm sorry the link didn't work. My email address is I would love to hear from you!

  5. Well, here I am! Late, but late is better than never I 'suppose :).

    I have loved you writing challenge, Elizabeth; it is the kind of thing I love doing when I reach that stage in a story, seeing how the story goes, outlining chapters and scenes, etc and then just writing methodically with the occasional plot bunny that tears apart all propriety and logic! I had a rather un-ambitious challenge for myself during July which I quite failed to reach, but I wrote quite a bit which has made me quite happy! I too mixed up all the questions for the last few weeks into one post which I've been late to post (just did it today, on the 17th of August, for goodness sake!) :)

    Oo, but I am loving all I hear of Rifles in a South Field, like always. The snippets are wonderful and tantalizing and make me impatient to read the book! The second to last snippet is my favourite, though all are brilliant indeed. I like this picture of a resentment tasting like tonic! And the Pinterest images are fun, fun, fun. and Susannah's 2013 wardrobe is very practical but charming. I love the colour tones, and that gorgeous pink hair-flower :).

    Oo, I am a terrible procrastinator too!!! :(


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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