Second Impressions {in Actually Finishing Something in July}

Saturday, 17 August 2013

#A Love that Never Fails
'Let me speak to her.'
Oh, no! I owe to her,--but what will she say?'
'I can guess. Her first exclamation will be, "That man!"'
'Hush!' said Margaret, 'or I shall try and show you your mother's indignant tones as she says, "That woman!"'
-North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell 

Second impressions. Some things really need to be looked at twice, with different prisms, to see a new perspective to one's preconceived ideas and prejudices. I have been quite enjoying reading and watching Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South (both book and movie), and had a good laugh over the sweet ending lines - 'That man!... That woman!'. Perhaps it may seem unrelated comparing the story-line of this classic with Margaret having second and far better an impression of Mr. Thornton, the man she rejected, with the way I have been viewing my writing lately, but it both had me thinking about 'second impressions'. Things like my preconceived notion that setting a great part of A Love that Never Fails in Queensland, Australia, would be a big mistake (you see - nothing ever happens here! - or so I thought), that I had no big plots in mind (Nonsense!), or that this novel would be a very simple story, with a few characters and straight-forward plot-line (Parrrdonnn meee?). Flash of light! Boom, the seed of an idea, a pile of history books on Australia in WW2, and all of a sudden I have not been able to help the sudden flood of thoughts and possibilities that have sprung and happily will not be quenched in my mind. It has been a painful, thrilling thing, the ideas flying like kites in the sky as I try to grasp at them and pull them onward  not too high as to be absurd, nor neither too low so as to get caught in clumsy hanging tree branches of writer's block or any other obstacles. I feel like running, the wind blowing my hair, goaded by the words and scenes my fingers desperately want to write. Alas, but that life has been galloping at the speed of a wild horse! Nay, more like the stifling hustle-bustle of a sardine can ready to burst; I guess I have to patiently ride this thing. I truly do not know where A Love that Never Fails will go other than the wild hints and images in my mind, but now I feel confident and happy about it (or almost anyway)... like I am getting to really know good friends who will be with me for a long while yet and starting a journey with them that I cannot tell it's end. Truth be told, they are going to go through some really terrifying moments and things that I'd rather not go with them on - a journey, as Winston Churchill put it of 'blood, sweat and tears', but then I am learning to trust God that He will guide me through the heart-wrenching parts which I have to deal with and teach me so much through it as well; it is a great comfort to know that in seeking Him and immersing myself in His Word and in prayer, He will be with me and help me write this story and teach me so much along the way. 

Now, as for Actually Finishing Something July, I am late on all accounts with the weekly questions, being extremely busy to share updates, so this is a mix up of many of the questions put up for every week in the blog-challenge. Enjoy!

How was you progress? Did you reach your goal by August 1?

Progress could have been much faster, accomplishment that much higher, but for lack of time. It has been so frustrating that just when I got that into that delightful place of inspiration and enthusiasm for A Love that Never Fails, family life and activities increased so much. However, I think I can say that considering things, I have progressed happily with this Actually Finishing Something in July blog event, and while I was not able to finish the first chapter proper before August, I am grateful that I have started rewriting the first chapter with a vague sense of direction and purpose, knowing what the coming scenes are and getting a slightly larger understanding of my characters along the way. A few weeks ago, Sarah borrowed a huge stack of history books from the library about World War II and what life was like during the 1940s both in Australia and England, and just browsing through some of the articles have been such a huge inspiration; I have had a flood of ideas (some of them with a flair of the melodramatic), and it has been so eye-opening reading a book like Blood, Sweat and Tears (Australia's WWII remembered by the men and women who lived it) by Margaret Geddes for an understanding of life back then from those who actually lived it as 'a memory of a memory' as it were, but so real in the autobiographical accounts as they recount them in those interviews. Their memories are so vivid, like fresh paint, how they describe what they went through, the stories and events and people... and it has been hard concentrating on schoolwork actually  ^_^. But, truth be told, no I did not, reach my goal by August (still haven't!), not only thanks to the busy-ness of life, but to the painful lack of that dubious word 'inspiration' - that flow of the pen that every writer daydreams about... and I am still only half happy with what I have written. But ho hum, this story has decided to be contrary, and I have decided to be a stubborn perfectionist! What is one to do? Nonetheless, I can be content with what I've written - mediocre writing is better than nothing at all, after all is said and done. And perhaps with a deal of editing, those passages may have some diamonds in the rough. Only time will tell.

Where did you get the bulk of your writing accomplished? In the quiet of your room, outside on the patio, on the bus?

I think I have mostly written in the bedroom in my writing notebook, either on my desk or crouched up in bed under torchlight, or on the floor in Dad's office where I write on my laptop in the evenings before bed. A bit abstract, but I like it well enough. My handy writing basket is my faithful companion. ^_^

Introduce us to the antagonist in your story. Does he/she prefer crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
It is a hard thing pin-pointing who my antagonist is in this story (at least at this stage). In my short story, Amelia held that position... her role has changed a lot now that I am writing the story as a novel; I know an antagonist will mostly be making his or her sinister feature appearance some time within the space of the first half of the tale, but I am still wrapping my mind around that, and meanwhile, I think the greatest antagonist and enemy of the story is the War itself. And the War doesn't particularly 'prefer' peanut butter, crunchy or creamy! 
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.
Yes, you can check my storyboard on Pinterest for A Love that Never Fails clicking the hyperlink on the title. Here are some current favourite images that are an inspiration to me at this time.

Jane
the Blitz 
1940's Grandmamma's Kitchen

Hugh Jackman // George Fredrick Wilson

shearing shed
via A Love that Never Fails

via A Love that Never Fails

('Excessive amount of pics? Pish-posh! One can never have too many photos in a post!)
How would the main character of your story react if he or she were introduced to you?
Perhaps I am presuming too much, but I do believe Jane would react with a bashful, friendly sweetness, a banter between shyness and delight. We'd be instant best-friends. At least, I should hope!
Introduce us to one or two of the secondary characters in your story. 
Cynthia
That's a hard choice; I am tempted to talk about those darling identical twins o' mine but on consideration that should be kept for a later date because they totally deserve a Beautiful People of their own! Instead, I will introduce you to Cynthia Oldacre, Jane's closest friend back in England. For one thing, she is ginger-headed. That is to say she possess a swirly crop of fiery hair, freckles and 'emerald' eyes that gleam with the ginger-ness of her temperament more than a dozen times a day. Her dad is a Home Guard, who owns a confectionery shop in the heart of London where she often helps as an assistant along with her mother and two brothers, Barrel and Fennel after school. She and Jane go to the same school, and are the best of friends. They are of two very different temperaments, but have so much in common both in interests and passions so as to smooth off the untidy edges of their disagreements. They are like salt and pepper, rarely seen apart...
If one of your characters (you choose who) were allowed to choose a super-power, which power would he or she most desire?
Jane is not a girl of an ambitious turn, but I think a power she would most desire to possess would be the ability to protect and keep safe those whom she loves, to prevent them from being hurt. 
Did you maintain a writing schedule? How often did you write to meet your goal?
Not really, - I mean, no more than I normally do, though I did try to write as often as I could in the evenings during the week, and I did a lot of scribbling in my notebook at more random, unusual hours...
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.
Musical inspiration during the month of July was rather varied, interesting and quite unrelated to my story but uplifting all the same - see, I am funny like that and get inspired by random, unrelated things! My family and I got to attend a Sons of Korah concert which was beautiful and it got me into the mood of listening to their different albums of the Psalms. Also I discovered a new artist, Ann-Maree Keefe. She's got a beautiful Hayley Westerna-type voice and she's both a Christian and from Australia to boot, so I've quite enjoyed listening to her on my iPod and also on YouTube. My favourite song for her right now is All I Need which really has nothing to do with A Love that Never Fails; when I am writing, I have been listening to my favourite kind of music, namely movie soundtracks. Howard Shore (The Hobbit//Fellowship of the Ring), John Williams (War Horse) and a new soundtrack which has been quite a lot of fun to listen to, has been Hans Zimmer's Pirates Of the Caribbean At the World's End soundtrack. Disclaimer: I haven't watched the films but it is quite a lot of fun all the same!
Snippets! Share as much, or as little, as you choose.
Gee, here we go...
Jane slowly got to her feet. Without another word, she walked to the table, cleaned up the rubbish scattered about, snatched the empty cake platter from Tabby the cat’s greedy, sticky paws and folded up the brown paper wrappings. Shoo, you fatling, darling monster.... SCAT!
A Love that Never Fails

“‘A cheerful disposition at sunrise sets a new day with pleasurable delights’ Jane smiled, but her eyes stung with the memory of the words told to her by her Pappa. She gritted her teeth, and turned away.
A Love that Never Fails

Stepping across the sun-kissed room, Jane lifted the piano lid, settled herself onto the seat and let her fingers run on the black and white keys, curving her fingers meticulously. Like little gold bells and snow-laden sledges, the melody touched her ears softly and danced off the glass panels of the living-room window with a jovial smile.
A Love that Never Fails

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. 

We'll go with Jane! As I signed into Polyvore the other day and was trying to think up the different possibilities for the kind of wardrobe she would have if she was living in the year 2013 I found myself smiling at her daily wardrobe style, because she really has the sort of tastes/styles/colours I enjoy best. In today's fashion, I have fitted her with a deep, sea-blue coloured dress speckled with yellow, white, green and black polka-dots, a simple yellow jacket and matching yellow handbag and flat-shoes and a blue scarf in case of an evening chill. Her jewelry is simple - a gold cross necklace and bracelet and dangling earrings of either golden leaves or blue feathers. I made a few other 'semi-modern' outfits for her, just for fun; which you can check in these links. I am especially fond of this peach and straw outfit below; it was quite the tie with the outfit above! 


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?
This challenge has been quite delightful, and my only criticism with it has been that I was not able to post weekly the updates with all the fun tag-questions. But that's entirely my fault. This little challenge gave me a much needed kick into that nagging first chapter. I am so very thankful and only hope that, Lord willing, I will be able to join in next time with more diligence. Thanks, Katie!

There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casteth out fear.
John 4: 18

2 sweet note(s):

  1. Sounds like you've been having a lot of fun and excitement with your writing! :)

    I love the North and South TV mini-series. :) I just started reading the book. :)

    God bless,
    Joy :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love North & South! Both book and movie. =] Great post! Sounds like you've been busy.

    By the way, I have awarded you! Here's the link: http://sarah-plainandaverage.blogspot.com/2013/08/elegant-blogger-award.html

    Blessings,
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete

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