Monday, July 10, 2006

Thoughts while listening to Mendelssohn

Yesterday hubby and I went to a string quartet concert...and as is usual for me, I spent almost the entire time thinking about writing. For some reason the classical music starts, I listen closely for about 5 minutes, and then my mind drifts. It's not that I don't like the music--I love it--it's just...I'm not sure exactly. Somehow no matter the composer, live classical music puts me firmly in the medieval mindset, and I happily daydream about plot and characters, and imagine scenes. It's quite productive, actually, although I don't write anything down.

Isabella (Isabel? Bella? I'm not sure yet) was very present in my mind yesterday. She's the youngest of 3 princesses, and apparently is rather more outspoken than her sisters--and less worried about consequences, and appearances. This should be fun.

I also realized, though, that this book will be quite a bit more challenging than TMT in terms of structure. My MC is a real-life historical character, and I can't just make her do whatever the heck I/she wants to do. We have a basic script we need to work within: major events, locations, when her children were born, when she died...I have a lot of freedom with this character, since she's not well-recorded as far as I know, but I also have restrictions Katherine didn't come with.

I also have to figure out how to make, or find, a story arc WITHIN her lifetime story. I've already discarded the usual plot devices historical fiction writers use to frame, because they ARE usual. No, she will not be telling her story to a monk at the end of her life. No, she will not be on her deathbed gasping the tale to a favorite grandchild. I also don't particularly want to just--poof--end the story at her death, and that's it.

My current plan is to research the main facts as well as I possibly can, then just start writing and see where it takes me. Trust in the process, as I did with TMT. Trust that the real story, the one under the facts, the whole arc, will come alive in the writing. Then we'll see what Isabella really has to tell.

Medieval Word of the Day: stubble-goose: A goose fed on the stubble. (c1386 CHAUCER Cook's Prol. 27 For of thy percely yet they fare the wors That they han eten with thy stubbel goos. 1708 W. KING Art of Cookery 77 So stubble Geese at Michaelmas are seen Upon the spit, next May produces green. 1816 W. TAYLOR in Monthly Mag. XLII. 37 Geese..are eaten young, under the name of green geese,..They are eaten adult, under the name of stubble geese.)


Granny Grimes said...


I'm the same way with classical music--the music triggers emotions, which conjure images, which morph into stories. Mostly short vignettes, but I often find a way to incorporate them into whatever I'm working on at the time.

I think you're right to trust your instincts about your new WIP. Let Isabella tell you her story, and as she's "speaking" to you, peek around. She'll let you know where she's coming from eventually. {s}


Julie K said...


You're totally talented enough to come up with a good story arc, even though you're working within the confines of a historical character. TMT had enough twists and turns that I didn't expect, and I know you'll be set to listen to what the characters are telling you and ready to write it all down!

Julie K

Susan Adrian said...

Thanks, Linda. Though I haven't written a word yet, Isabelle is very...vocal in my head. {g} I'm sure she'll come up with her own story.

Susan Adrian said...

Thanks, Julie! I just have to remember to trust in the process even though it IS historical. :)