A rare sneak peek of my novel/NaNo project: via the Next Big Thing Challenge

Very little of what I write about here on The Rambling Jour is on  actually what I write about in my novels.  Obviously, I write historical fiction.  And obviously, I write about the Civil War.  Because.  You know.  A little obsessed.

Kelley Heckart, who writes historical fantasy romance, tagged me in the “Next Big Thing” Challenge.  Or blog hop, whatever you want to call it.  I like challenge more than hop, mainly because I’d rather be challenged than hop anywhere, so I’m sticking with that.  Anyway, here’s how it works.  I answer 10 random questions about my novel.  Then I tag some writer friends so they can discuss their projects.  Are you actually reading my stuff?  No.  I’m shy.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.  You can visit Kelley’s website here for more information on her books.

But, first things first.  NaNo.  I was completely NaNo-licious over my vacation!  I kept up with my word count, which actually surprises me based on the fact we spent the majority of time outside and/or eating mass quantities of Friendly’s ice cream.  I’m behind by a couple hundred words as of tonight, since last night at approximately 11:30pm, I realized I’d written myself into a corner and had no idea what to do.  I stared at the screen for like, ten minutes, and then just went to bed.  I thought about it today and partook in a little historical research over my lunch break, so I’m hoping tonight will go better.  I still don’t know how to get from where I’m at to the next plot point…but I may just write something random and worry about it later.  That’s the point of NaNo, isn’t it?  To turn off your internal editor and write until your fingers bleed?

I struggle with that, especially since my spelling is atrocious.  Flat out atrocious.

But anyway.  Without further adieu, here is The Next Big Thing Challenge.  Hopefully, like eating one, solitary Pringle, it will leave you wanting more.

1.  What is the working title of your book?  My book is currently saved on my laptop as “manuscript.”  I’ve toyed with some ideas, but most end up sounding like double entendres.  Though hilarious, they are probably not the most effective.

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?  The idea came from reading first hand accounts of women’s roles during the Civil War, kind of a mixture between the obviously embellished (Belle Boyd) to diaries of normal women (Lucy Breckenridge).  The main plot points started forming while I was at Antietam in June, which is why I think it’s going to focus more on the “Maryland Campaign” rather than the “Gettysburg Campaign.”

3.  What genre does your book fall under?  historical fiction.  Maybe a little romance, but I am horrible at writing sex scenes.

4.  Which actors/actresses would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I gave this a lot of thought.  I like Emmy Rossum would be perfect for the main character, Elizabeth; Tom Hiddleston, though British, would be my Jeb Stuart–a decision based solely on eye color alone; and Ian Somerhalder would be Major Dorsey.

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  I actually haven’t written my one-sentence synopsis yet.  If we’re basing it on what’s written so far…it would be pretty horrible: Sassy Southern sympathizer changes her clothes a lot and flirts with a married man.  *jazz hands*

6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  I would prefer to first try to obtain agency representation.  Should that not be the best decision for my book, I will 100% move forward with self publishing.  I think that both options are excellent options and there really is no wrong answer.  It’s just whatever you feel more comfortable doing.  There’s successes and failures down both paths.

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  I’m still working on it.  I’m currently at 80 pages in 14 days.

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Anything about the Civil War will be compared to Gone with the Wind.  It’s inevitable.  Based on characters along, I would compare it more to Michael Kilian’s series, except with less thriller and more romance.

9.  Who or What inspired you to write this book?  I’m obviously inspired by the Civil War.  I read an interesting article in Civil War Times about how we think of the Civil War; the so-called Gone with the Wind effect.  Photographs taken of the aftermath of battle are relatively bloodless.  I think that’s how we think of the Civil War; I think we forget that 600,000 Americans were killed, some literally blown to pieces.  Women weren’t Scarlett and men weren’t Rhett: the fought, they survived the best they could through difficult times, and they died for what they believed in.  We are who we are because of them.  I’ll leave you with a quote from the State of Florida Monument from Gettysburg, which for me, sums it up:

Like all Floridians who participated in the Civil War, they fought with courage and devotion for the ideals in which they believed. By their noble example of bravery and endurance, they enable us to meet with confidence any sacrifice which confronts us as Americans

10.  What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  I’m hoping my historical accuracy and tendency to, on occasion, run amok on the battlefield doing living history.

So, there you have it.  “Manuscript” in ten questions.

Next week, visit the websites of my friends Harlie Williams and Kate Gallagher for their Next Big Thing Challenge!

And yeah, so now I’m off to plug away at “Manuscript” so my one-line synopsis doesn’t suck so much.  Sassy.


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