Life at fourteen was pure vexation. How could it be otherwise, caught between girlhood and womanhood like a leaf snagged on driftwood, forced to bide and pray for a pitying eddy to nudge one along, while life’s river rushed merrily past? But Lydia Eve McClaren—fourteen’s latest victim—thought it really too much that she should have to look as awkward as she felt.
In the past twelvemonth her height had outstripped her weight. Her nose had got ahead of the rest of her face. And her hands, once so biddable, seemed intent on doing the reverse of whatever she meant them to do.
She yearned for fifteen. At times she even missed twelve, though she would jump in the Mohawk River in her shift before admitting as much.
Midway through January I began a new work in progress (WIP). I started it a few weeks earlier than I’d planned, but the first part of the WIP was vivid and nudging at me to get written, so I went ahead and did the research for that section first (focusing on Fort William Henry, but also the history of the entire French & Indian part of the Seven Years War), and wrote those scenes. My POV character is a major in the Royal Americans, a British Army regiment, who has the misfortune of being garrisoned at Fort William Henry in August of 1757.
This week I switched gears and began another section of the book that’s told from another point of view (POV) character. She’s fourteen years old in the first two chapters of her section. I’ve never written from the pov of such a young person before. It’s been fun. Challenging. Thinking back to when I was fourteen only helps slightly, because this girl is not how I was then. She’s strong willed. Determined. Full of righteous indignation over unfairness. Often too quick to judge (okay, I may have been this way too at fourteen). I’ve managed to write two chapters of hers this week (roughly 5,800 words in total), leaving spots in rough sketchy form and several [ ]s scattered throughout, pending further research on several topics.
Which brings me to a list of all the topics I have researched this week, along with the writing:
~ The goings on militarily in New York and Canada in 1759, during the French & Indian War
~ The doings of various Iroquois tribes during the F&I War
~ The apothecary trade (just started researching this topic, which includes the time-consuming task of figuring out which books I need to request from the library or purchase on line. Much more learning to be done)
~ Schenectady, NY, circa 1750-1778 (more books on the way, so my research is still in the bud)
~ Blood letting as a medical practice
~ Welsh bows
~ Welsh accents and the rhythm of English as spoken by native Welsh
I’m pretty sure my current POV character, the fourteen year old, will have aged a couple of years by next week, when I pick up with her next chapter. How will she have matured? What about her will be the same? I look forward to discovering.
From Stone Thrower’s Son (working title):
Copyright 2012 Lori Benton