In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, I wanted to share another picture of Fred Overall, the WWll veteran whose story I am currently adapting into a biographical novel. I am so grateful to all the men and women who have sacrificed to protect this country since it was founded. Without them, who knows where we’d all be today? But I especially want to honor Fred, because even though I never got to meet him, his life has touched mine through his children and the wonderful legacy of faith, commitment, and love that he left behind. The more I’ve learned about him the more I admire his quiet courage, his resourcefulness, his trust in God, and his passionate, unwavering love for his family. May the Lord bless America with another generation of men like Fred Overall!
(Fred is standing at the far right in the above picture, which was taken – according to a local who identified it for me – at the “Doughnut Dugout,” a popular place for service members.)
For those of you who are curious, I’m about 15% of the way through the writing process now. The start was kind of slow, partly due to the fact that beginnings are important to get right, but also because I had to learn a lot about the time period and setting before I began to feel really comfortable moving around in it and sculpting the story in its proper context. I’m also working to get a feel for the English style of speaking, which obviously differs from what comes most naturally to me as an American. Old letters from Lily’s family members have been a great help in that area.
Though the words are different, there are plenty of things we have in common too. The frequency with which they call one another “love”, for example, certainly reminds me of the southern American style of calling everyone “honey” and “sugar” regardless of whether you even know their real names! Those of you who live in the south know what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t want to try and count the times I’ve exchanged a few words with complete strangers at the grocery store or doctor’s office and had them finish up with, “You have a nice day, honey!”
Even with the studying and slow beginnings for this story though, I’m really enjoying the process! I like to do most of my writing at our lake house, where it is deliciously quiet and easy to focus. The only sound comes from my fingers tapping away at the keyboard, or the rustling of leaves outside the huge window I sit next to.
Any other background noise is what I create myself, for the sake of scene-setting. After reading another writer’s blog post, in which he mentioned that he used background music a lot, I’ve recently started experimenting with doing the same. For me, the efficacy seems to depend on what type of scene I’m writing. Some really seem to require quiet, as I work through dialog in my head and even act it out aloud. (Which is another good reason to write in an empty house…people don’t stare at you when you start talking to yourself) For other scenes though, music is perfect. I recently wrote a scene set at a dance, and found that jazzy swing music playing in the background really helped to set the tone.
I’m curious now to try other types of music. Just none with lyrics. I can’t concentrate on ANYTHING while listening to music with lyrics! But instrumental pieces are great. They can just sort of fade into the background as I write. (Unless we’re talking about something like the “Surprise Symphony” of course!)
Speaking of which, I’d better finish up this blog post and start thinking about getting back to the lake house to work on the next chapter! It’s going to include some entertaining romantic rivalry situations. Wonder what type of music would set the tone for that?