Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Friday, November 01, 2013

November 1: NaNoWriMo begins . . .

How do we challenge ourselves to reach our goals?

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, has officially begun.

My word count today = 510 words on Rivers of Stone, not bad at all for someone who routinely writes 250-300 words a day. My personal goal (as a NaNo rebel) is to write 10,000 words this month, far below the 50,000 words that is the norm for NaNoWriMo writers. But 10,000 words seems more than enough for me.

Today I finished reading Sylvia Van Kirk's Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870 (University of Oklahoma Press, 1983). Van Kirk unveils how early fur traders across Canada and the northern United States benefited from marrying Native American women.

Letitia Hargrave (Wikipedia)
Dubbed 'country wives,' these women and their M├ętis children created a bridge between two divergent cultures. But once the Scottish chief traders began to bring Scottish wives with Victorian values to the wilderness, these native wives were ostracized, then accepted, and then ostracized again. Her book includes maps, excerpts from letters, and photographs which bring these stories to life. For the wilderness required usefulness in a way that a Victorian woman of a certain class, raised to shine genteelly in a drawing room, would not be prepared for.

At York Factory, for example, Hudson's Bay would freeze-up in October with Spring break-up allowing the passage of ships not until May -- 8 months of isolation. Letitia Hargrave, the Scottish wife of Chief Trader James Hargrave, had a piano at York Factory, servants, enjoyed wine, bore children, and wrote gossipy letters home to her large family -- a treasure today for researchers. But there are no letters from 'country wives.'

Read more of Letitia Hargrave's letters at the Champlain Society.
Check out NaNoWriMo and jump right in!.
Take a look at Sylvia Van Kirk's book, Many Tender Ties, at Amazon.

Have you taken the NaNoWriMo challenge? If yes, are you a NaNo rebel setting your own goals?

Here are two quite interesting articles to keep the writing steaming right along:

"Role Playing Tip #1: Being Angry" at Mind Weave Role-Playing Platform

Karen Woodward's post, "Creating Vivid Characters for NaNoWriMo"