I’ve never been a gardener. In fact, I usually tell folks that “I don’t kill plants; I just make ’em wish they were dead.”
So, it’s fitting that, as I plan what flowers I’ll be planting this spring, I’m thinking about Rose, who also wasn’t much of a gardener.
As a writer, one always questions if a character is being true to their own nature or whether the author is projecting his or her own moral belief system or code of action upon them.
To be clear, you don’t want the latter. That’s called Author Intrusion. 1
Sometimes, however, it seems impossible to keep the author’s world from encroaching on their writing. And when it happens to me, I try to mitigate its effects by relegating it to the world of research.
This week’s topic of research has been healthcare.2
Sometimes, when words are hard to find, my writing group plays a little game. We spin for prompts, which are just words or phrases that have been plucked from various sources and added to a numbered list, and then see what we can write that includes one or all of the prompts.
Occasionally, the resulting scene is actually relevant to the work-in-progress; other times it just serves to open the floodgates and remind you that you can still write.
Regardless of outcome, the games are always fun. And writing is supposed to be that, isn’t it!
I’ve been considering bank closings, and the panics that ensued,1 and how that would have manifested itself in the small town where Rose and Harold lived?
We’ve seen pictures of the mobs that rushed banks in New York after the big stock crash in ’29. But stories about smaller crowds, smaller towns, smaller banks, are harder to find.2
Some writers are blessed with the innate knowledge of where their story is going. Others just write and let the story take them where it will.
In the writing world, there are two main camps of fiction writers. Plotters and Pantsters1. The former has the story mainly plotted out, either on paper or some lucky few have all that incredible knowledge in their heads. Pantsters, however, don’t bow to the conventions of linear time. They just write whatever story bit is in their head at the moment and sometime later, by invoking some weird kind of magic, move the scenes around to create a story, i.e. they write “by the seat of their pants.”
Harold and Rose have been time-traveling.
They just returned from a trip aboard the Titanic, the latest of House Party settings at the writers’ forum I frequent. 1
House Parties are an interesting phenomenon. Multiple writers throw characters from their many WIPs 2 into a particular setting and while characters of different backgrounds, time periods, and genres interact, the writers not only have fun but often witness epiphanies.
You haven’t seen much of me lately. I apologize for that. But… well, things got a bit crazy here, what with storms and rising water and holidays and new homes.
Still, Rose and Harold are with me every step of the way. In fact, I’ve been listening to 1920s and 1930s music to get a bit closer to them… and to my grandparents who were young newlyweds during this time.
Suffice it to say that I was surprised to hear this 1925 hit about my own hometown, Peoria.
It makes me happy to think of Rose listening (and dancing, even though Harold is pretty awkward and steps on her toes a lot) to this tune. And like the singer, I often wish “I was in Peoria.” Not because of the “goils” but for the people I love who are still there.
Chorus: Oh, how I wish’t I was in Peoria, Peoria tonight.
Oh how I miss the “goils” in Peoria, Peoria, tonight.
Oh you can pick a morning gloria right off the sidewalks of Peoria.
Oh, how I wish’t I was in Peoria, Peoria tonight.
All the lyrics here (plus a bonus rendition–scroll to the bottom of the lyrics–of the song by Bill Edwards)