Monday, February 23, 2009

How's the Writing?

I am sorry that I haven't written for so long. Last week we were bombarded with colds and fevers, and my fevered brain just couldn't collect it's thoughts to put on paper (or on blog) for the whole first half of the week. On Friday, I believe it was, I tried to write a post but it just wasn't coming out right so I put it aside. Praise the Lord, we are all doing much better now, except Daddy, who is still fighting the fever deal, and my writing should be back by now. :-)

I decided I'd like to give some updates on my book-writing, as I haven't for a while.

Kim and Sydney

This book has been coming along pretty well. I got tired of Kim and Sydney being little girls and skipped a chapter, since I'm writing it in notebook and plan to transfer it to Microsoft Word on the computer eventually, and I moved right along to the time when Sydney has moved to California, Kim is grown up, and her brother is getting married to her best friend Faith. Chris has just returned from college, and Kim's aunt and uncle invite her to come stay with them in California as her aunt is expecting twins and already has two very busy little girls. As of Saturday, I have finally reached chapter 15, when Kim arrives at her aunt and uncle's home in the San Joaquin Valley area of California (familiar to me because that is where most of my mom's family lives), and is getting settled. That means very soon (probably within a few chapters) she will accidentally meet up with a grown-up and very different Sydney from the Sydney of Kim's warped, childhood memories when anybody you play with can be your best friend. (Remember those days? :-P ) So that is the progress on "Kim and Sydney".

17th Century England story (no name)

I had actually started this book and written up to chapter seven in this one before we went to Indiana. I am not giving too much attention to details and descriptions now, as I plan to do those after I've done some more study and started typing it out on the computer. But I have enjoyed writing the part when James Tyler takes refuge at the Williams' home, and they are followed home from the Separatist meeting, and Lady Abercromby begins her career as the evil, plotting villain of the story... I am at the part right after William and Ralph have been taken to prison and the children (Christopher "Kit", Eleanor "Nell", and Ann) have been taken to Abercromby Park. Now the children are a couple years older-- Ann is eight-- and I am in the process of introducing their personalities. (The former chapters were about William Williams, Ann's father, and the readers don't really get to know Ann, the main character, until the chapter I am currently on (chapter seven).) I have all sorts of scenes planned in my mind that I can't wait to right out. But I can't give away the story to you. :-)

When we were in Indiana, we went to the Ft. Wayne library for my mom and my aunt to do some genealogy. While we were there, I looked up several resources on the 17th century. I found some great books and read and took notes on what I could, as we were there for several hours. One book that rendered itself particularly helpful was "Daily Life in Stuart England". Unfortunately, I only had time to read two chapters' worth of it, but I learned a great deal about the general history of the era as well as society and government in the 17th century.

I learned, for instance, about the aristocracy. The Peerage were the people of highest rank, with titles recieved from the king, in order of importance: Duke-Marquess-Earl-Viscount-Baron. I learned that the baronetcy was originally invented by Kimes James to raise funds for a military expedition. Baronets paid ₤1,100 for the title, but it eventually became cheaper. The title could be inherited, the holder was called "Sir" but did not have a seat in the House of Lords. My mind started turning, and I decided that Sir Abercromby is a baronet, which would give his wife (Lady Abercromby, the conniver) all the more reason to try to get Ann married to a baron or viscount so that she can have her claws in the politics of the country. *evil laugh* :-D

Another thing I learned that the "thou" form of speech was used in familiar conversation, while the "you" form was rendered more respectful. I still think I will use "you" for all my conversation, as "thou and thee" would be laborious and stuffy sounding.

I also learned about the structure of towns, which were becoming more widespread in the 17th century as England came out of the feudalistic society of the Middle Ages.

Another note of interest, and especially important in my story, was the position of Anglicans, Puritans, Separatists, and Catholics. Separatists (Christians who separated from the Church of England completely, due to the conviction that it was unbiblical) were regarded as disloyal because the Church of England was the state church, and it was law to attend. An Englishman could be fined one shilling for not attending the state church services. The Separatists were actively suppressed, especially after the Restoration of the throne. The Glorious Revolution of 1689 granted Dissenters freedom in England; this, however, is a good forty years or so after Ann and her beloved started a free and happy life in Virginia in the New World.

When I came home, I looked up that book on Google and the lowest price I could find it for was $38 from Barnes and Noble if you have a membership. *wails* So if anybody has this book and can bear to lend it out.... *batting eyes* :-) Or maybe I'll just have to go back to Ft. Wayne.

My cousins Patrick and Louise, in England, have also been very helpful in helping me find websites and book titles that will be of help to me. They both have a great interest in history, and they live right where it all happened! :-)

Please pray for me as I continue my writing pursuits. This England story is very important to me. My cousin Patrick reminded me that "we are living in a very turbulent time. You are going to write about another era, which was equally fraught." This really put it in perspective. We cannot know what lies ahead for the church, be it persecution or peace. We cannot know what lies ahead for our government, instability or security. Times change, fashions and trends change, maps change, governments change, new people make new marks on the page of history... But one thing never changes, and that is God. The God who could still change and rule in the hearts of men in the days of Cromwell and King Charles, can still change and rule in the hearts of men in the days of Obama and Clinton. Whatever happens, God's words will remain true-- they are timeless and forever. In my book, Polydore Tyler teaches Ann and Kit the timeless lessons of God's Word: that each individual must have the choice for himself/herself whether they will follow God or their own ways and the ways of the world; that all the wicked men banded together cannot destroy God's plan or eradicate God's people or even touch them if it isn't God's will; God sets up and brings down thrones all according to His will; we must be strong in the face of opposition and persecution and hold fast to the promises of God. These messages are for today. So please pray that I will endure in the study and find everything I need to make this book all I want it to be, that it would be an offering to God and a help to His people.

Please pray the same for Kim and Sydney. I want other girls to read about being salt and light to the world around them and not caring if they are different from other people, because they are God's treasured possession.

I would be delighted to hear you readers' input on either of these stories, and again, let me know if you can find some good resources on the Stuart era. God bless you all! :-)

P.S. I found some great pictures of 17th century English fashions which have helped me have a picture in my mind of what kind of clothes Ann and Nell and Lady Abercromby wear! Here are some. Some are really ugly, but I like the last one.


Anonymous said...

Yay!! A post! :P Just kidding..I know you guys have been busy and all. I hope your dad starts feeling better.

Your books sound really interesting! I hope you can find all the information you need, and I will be praying!

juli said...

Its hard to write a story set in another country! For me anyways! Loads of research!! And I definately like YOU much better than THEE and THOU. Yuck. It's totally great in the KJB but just regular books it doesn't sound so wonderful!

Teddy said...

They sound like they're really comin'! I think the dresses would look ever so much nicer if the model looked a bit more girlish!=P Goodness, do you see the way her shoulders slope!?

Melanie said...

Teddy, I know what you mean! The models are very old and dull looking. Except the last one, I thought she was pretty and girlish.
Glad to have you comment again! I miss you!!! Wish we all lived closer to each other... :-)

Rosebud said...

Oh, it sounds excellent, Melanie! Best wishes to you, as you know!