Monday, August 03, 2009

And we're off

I'm embarking upon a plotting adventure this week, attempting to create a strong inner journey and story framework for my three main characters, Willa, Neil and Joseph. I'm starting with Willa, who is the true main character, although Neil and Joseph have their journeys as well, and are each tied up with Willa's. Whether or not they will be viewpoint characters, I haven't decided. I might just stick with one POV this time around. But if Neil, in particular, starts talking to me, I'll write down what he says, and we'll see.

While plotting out the story, I'm keeping a list of subjects I'll need to research. So far that list includes:

~Iroquois history and culture
~Oneida participation in the Revolutionary War
~White captives among the Iroquois
~New York history, particularly Tryon county, which became Montgomery County in 1784, the year this story opens.
~The court/judicial system of Montgomery County at this time. How often and where did they meet?
~What happened to confiscated Loyalists lands after the Revolutionary War? Who got them? How might one have contested the confiscation?
~Oneida names for certain characters (or perhaps Mohawk. I haven't decided yet which tribe of the Haudenosaunee is most appropriate).
~Location of Willa's frontier farm (I think it will be east of Rome, but north of Herkimer and Little Falls. I want it in the foothills, north of the Mohawk River, but just how far north remains to be seen. Not sure how far whites had settled by 1772, an important year in Willa's back story. Must find out.).
~18th century Scottish naturalists and their travels in the New World, and how they went about their business here, who sent them over, who did they answer to? My particular naturalist is from Edinburgh, but I'll have to pinpoint a society or somesuch to which he is affiliated.

That's for starters, after a few hours work on plotting. I've ordered books, am already reading several, and will do much Googling in the next few weeks.

Am I feeling overwhelmed already? I could be, but I'm not letting myself go there. One little bite at at time is how I'll eat my way through this mountain of research.

If anyone happens to know a thing or two about any of the subjects listed above, I'd love to hear from you. Comment here or send me an email. lori _ benton 26 (at) hotmail dot com (without the spaces, of course).


  1. Lori ~
    I'm so excited about watching this journey from its beginnings. I can't offer any assistance with the topics you've listed, but if you are in need of a reader, I happily volunteer. :)

  2. Sallie, there's a certain rush or high to getting to know a new set of characters. I can't wait for them to start surprising me, whether that happens in the plotting/outline stage or later during the writing.

    I hope this is a shorter journey than Kindred has proven to be, but also as rewarding. *s*

  3. I wish I could help, any of those questions, answered, sound like a novel in and of themselves.

    I will say I don't know much about that time period, but as for North Carolina, a beautiful part of the world.

    What attaches you to this time period?

  4. PV,

    What attaches me to this period? Initially, when I contemplated the characters and the story I wanted to tell, the time period that seemed to fit them/it was the long stretch between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. What narrowed it down, aside from being somewhat familiar with the late 18C through my own fiction reading, was the deeply profound notion that I wanted my male characters to wear knee breeches. Because I fancy them. *s*

    That narrowed the window down considerably; the Rev War ended in 1783, and by 1810 knee breeches were gone out of style. Since I didn't want to be dealing with the aftermath of war so much in Kindred, I chose roughly ten years after the war ended to begin the story.

    Now, in the new novel, the aftermath of war is precisely what I want my characters to be dealing with, from three unique viewpoints.

    As to what holds me to the last quarter of the 18C... through my years of research I've grown more and more fascinated with the time and its people. The era is full of conflict on many levels, among many people groups. I don't think one could come to the end of potential stories to tell.

    And there's still the knee breeches. *s*