The Newest Inkling

27 August 2013

Friends and fellow wordsmiths, please join me in welcoming Meghan Gorecki to the ranks of author-bloggers! She's newly unveiled her lovely blog, Every Good Word, and as a means of getting acquainted, has opened up the floor with a tag of her own creation. I've decided to join in and highly recommend that you do the same. In addition to this questionnaire, Meghan has a giveaway, several guest posts, and lots of other exciting things in the works at Every Good Word that you won't want to miss. Do take the time to stop by!

What was your first-ever piece of writing?

A horrid thing scribbled on copy paper about a man named Sir Carnivore, his daughter Pauline, her suitor Ferdinand, and many other odd characters. It was called Knights and Ladies, and the four-page sequel (a hefty accomplishment for me at age eight) was even worse. Both were published in brief installments in our personal edition of The Pickwick Portfolio.

How old were you when you first began writing?

I've journaled from age six, written snatches of poetry and drama since age eight, and began my first novel, then-titled The Story of Rose, around age eleven. 

Name two writing goals. One short term & one long term. 

My short term goal is to finish Rifles in the South Field and segue into editing before the year is out. As for long term, I'd like to expand my outlines for my future works, begin writing them, and see Rifles eventually published.

Do you write fiction or non-fiction? 

My writing is often inspired by real-life events, but it is, for all intents and purposes, fictional.

Bouncing off of question 4, what's your favorite genre to write in? 

Historical fiction. History's annals have taught me of warfare and siege, fierce pride in one's homeland and people, heroes and traitors, all-encompassing love and bitter hate, martyrs, peasants, and kings . . . and that's enough to keep me going for years.

One writing lesson you've learned since 2013 began. 

Good writing has less to do with lightning bolts of inspiration and more to do with steady diligence.

Favorite author, off the top of your head!

I'm going to steal Bree's answer and say C.S. Lewis. Hearing my father read The Magician's Nephew aloud with my younger brother each morning has been reminding me of just how much I love his work. Lewis dwells in the beautiful, unspeakable, eternal things, and reading his writing feels like coming home.

"My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great."

Three current favorite books.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, which is positively hilarious; The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis, for the reasons mentioned above; and Letters to a Diminished Church by Dorothy Sayers, which is so rich it must be taken in small bites in order to be properly appreciated.

Biggest influence on your writing (person).

Undoubtedly my father, who is a gifted writer in his own right, though he pens mostly nonfiction. We're cut from the same cloth in nearly every way, we love discussing history and theology, and we're normally up reading later than anyone else in the house. He has been both my greatest encourager and my harshest critic, and I wouldn't be where I am today without his guidance.

What's your go-to writing music? 

Film scores. Braveheart (haven't seen the film, and thus cannot recommend it), The Young Victoria, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Little Women are my usual choices, but I also love the James Horner station on Pandora, which pulls up some obscure, but inspiring pieces.

List three to five writing quirks of yours! Little habits, must-haves as you write, etc.

1. When I'm writing during the day, I have to be dressed nicely with my hair fixed and my makeup applied, or else I find it harder to be productive.
2. I'm picky about music — I can't write without it, but it has to be instrumental, or it distracts me.
3. Even though I've tried to write early in the morning, I end up getting most of my writing done in the evening when my other work is completed.
4. I don't write well in notebooks. Flashes of inspiration get scribbled down, but I save my full scenes for my Word document.
5. Deadlines and I don't mix. If I know I have to finish something by a certain date, I tend to dig my heels in and stubbornly refuse to go further. I blame it on all the red in my hair.

What, in three sentences or less, does your writing mean to you?

Learning about all the quirks and habits of human nature on a grander scale. Studying man's inherent flaws and God's infinite wisdom and grace with my pen as the brush and a blank document as the canvas. Satisfaction in painting a replica of the world God created out of nothing.

I tag anyone who shudders at the thought of sharing their earliest excerpts. 

God Has Given You One Face

17 August 2013


. . . and you make yourself another.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

I've always held that busy, grey, school-filled days are best suited to fun blog posts. If we're to go about pointing fingers, Mirriam started it with her dream cast for a book she'd recently read. Jenny and Bree continued it, only they used their own characters. And though it's taken me some time to compile the pictures (Blogger never will learn to cooperate), I've decided to cast my lot with the rest and join in. Many of these individuals haven't been officially introduced up to this point, simply because their respective books are only in the planning stages, and I'm afraid this is all you're going to get until I'm ready to unveil. All the same, I thought you'd enjoy getting a peek at the people that frequent my mind.

Note: Many of these photos come from films and/or television programs which I have not seen. For that reason, I cannot recommend the sources themselves. I've included the pictures only because they are close depictions of my own characters.

Also, I've included a few horses in the mix, since they are most certainly characters.

Susannah Dixon (quite close — Susannah's a little younger at Rifles' beginning).
Kenneth Hughes.
The late Elizabeth Dixon.
Artemis, the moon-white mare.
Excalibur.
Count.
Eva Hughes.
Malcolm Noyes. He's a pretty decent chap.
Violet Bradshaw.
Lillian Prescott, looking more melancholy than is usually her wont.
Anna Bradshaw.
Grace Bradshaw.
Mercédès. She's a stranger in a strange land.

Antón de Rojas, the red warrior. Let all who cross him beware. 
Agnes Randolph.
Giles.
Rowan.

How do you picture your characters?

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!
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