After a short writing hiatus for a family camping trip and several days of homework, I am back at it and so happy to be back in the Summer of 1792 in Fishertown, North Carolina. While I was camping we visited a “ghost town” that was abandoned sometime in the early 1900s. I could feel my characters there, could see their grandchildren leaving North Carolina and trekking to this unfamilar place on the Buffalo River to take advantage of a short lived Zinc rush. How odd that fictional characters can have entire lives, families, and histories that live inside a world of your very own making.
This odd little thought brings me to a lesson not always so easily learned: Not everyone.. or anyone for that matter, knows my characters like I do.
There are times that I am writing so ferociously that I forget that someday other folks might read my story. I can so plainly see my characters lives from start to finish, I know their likes, dislikes, and dispositions so well that I know how they will react, and why, to any situation. But guess what? No one else does. Which means I have to give my reader just enough information that they are intimately familiar with William Campbell and Mary Quinn, without actually boring said reader to literal and tedious death.
In doing so I also have to acquaint others with the environments that the characters live in. And guess what? Its late June there and the gnats are horrific. Sound familiar locals? I’m not quite sure that they would have access to the vodka and vanilla beans necessary to make vanilla extract (which yes works wonders at repelling gnats) so they are basically being carried away by the little beasties.
Anyway, today I am working on the background information. Rereading the 15000 words I have so far and inserting information that I hope will paint a realistic and accurate picture of the lives I hold so dear.
Here is a quick excerpt from Chapter 4 and a testament to the fact that inspiration abounds, even from right outside your back door.
When Mary stepped out of the cabin she was unsure which would suffocate her first, the air which was so thick that she felt the weight of it on her skin, or the gnats. The days were growing continually hotter and the insects, delayed by flood waters in May, had finally arrived and were seemingly hungry from their journey. The backs of her legs and arms were dotted with whelps from bites and stings and she felt that she would be eternally plagued with itching. The only thing which brought temporary relief was a dab of whiskey followed by a frugal amount of Aloe Vera, procured greedily from her mother. She swatted at the cloud of bugs which were in her immediate vicinity and walked around the edge of the cabin to find William saddling Alpin, their newest acquisition. Alpin was a homely looking but sturdy creature which would be immensely useful on their impending trip to Orange County.