Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Remember When . . . The Little Stuff Happened?

Monday, during my big writing day of the week, the unthinkable happened--I ran out plotted story! Agh! Which is to say, I'm not anywhere near done my MS (okay, nearish), but I'd only figured out in detail up to a certain turning point. Which I'd just finished. I then had to sit back and go, "Okay . . . now what?"

My particular method of writing historical romance is to take two plots and weave them together. The first is mine. My characters, their motivation, the events of their lives that have very little to do with anything but my own reality. But then my second is history. The actual people, places, and events that shape the world I put my characters into. When all goes well, that second plot is what fuels the first toward its resolution.

But as I sat there staring at my screen on Monday, plotting, I was at a total loss. My notes on the Civil War stared blankly back at me. See, I'm now in early October of 1861. During which nothing big enough happened to make the big time lines. So what in the world was supposed to anchor my story?? I had nothing, not a thing in my notes until February. February! What in the world happened until then??

Plenty, of course, just not on a grand scale, not the kinds of things that make the lists for general Civil War history. Luckily, I have a resource that gives me specifically Savannah's history, which is what I need. Because there was an awful, awful lot going on in Savannah during those "empty" months on the time line.

Panic.

Vigilantes.

Islands on the coast falling to the Yankees.

General Lee's arrival.

Statewide questioning about whether Savannah is worth fighting for--a question Savannahians didn't much appreciate.

The blockade cinching tight.

 And that's not getting into the politics that had all of Georgia in an uproar. See, one of the BIG reasons for succession was Federal v. State Rights. Slavery laws were but one example of this, the fact that the southern states felt the north had no right to dictate to them what they could or couldn't do, that the federal government shouldn't have such power. But what was the Confederation doing? Dictating to them what they could and couldn't do. Telling them they had to raise a certain number of troops, and that those troops weren't to defend Georgia, they were to be sent to Virginia to fight on the front. And that their slaves had to be sent wherever the Confederacy needed them, to dig trenches.

And that, since there weren't enough volunteers, they'd have to institute the first-ever draft on North American soil.

Can you imagine how those people felt? They'd declared a revolution to keep a centralized federal government from deciding what their states could do--only to create a new one that did the same thing, and in ways even the politicians in Washington hadn't done. Was it any wonder the people were disillusioned? Panicked? And, where necessary, devious?

This first year of the war might have been relatively quiet compared to the rest . . . if you're standing at a distance, looking at the divided nation as a fractured whole. But when you get up close, you see it was far from it.

There may not have been so many loud shouts, but there was a world of mumblings. What they lacked in cannon fire they made up for in quiet betrayals---betrayals that led directly to those louder months coming, when disillusioned rebels led the Yankees straight to the heart of Confederate fortifications.

Oh yeah--I'm having lots of fun with this "little" history. =)

8 comments:

  1. It's the "little history," I think, that is the most gripping - cuz it's more likely to profoundly affect individual lives in a more interesting way. Have fun!

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    1. I totally agree, Joanne! I just LOVE finding the little things. =)

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  2. I love knowing the smaller, seemingly less important details of history. It's just amazing how God has orchestrated history, especially America's. From the timing of the first discoveries, to the declaration of independence, to our winning of the World Wars, even now we can see His hand of blessing on our country. We can see God's providence throughtout time.

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    1. Definitely--one of the beauties of hindsight is being able to see the hand of Lord!

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  3. I love your blog. I always learn something. I loved history in college, but at my age, there is so much I've forgotten. Totally cool post!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Tammy! College reading (after refreshers, ha ha) fed my biblical writing, but I gotta say these American-set books make me dig for new resources! Always fun, though. =)

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  4. it's actually the little things that make the story so memorable. You do a great job with the blog, and your novels are super. Thanks

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  5. Say no more. I want to read this book. Civil War is my FAVORITE!! So is historical romance, it couldn't be more perfect! :)

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