Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Quiet Morning for Writing -- or Not?

There I was, pounding the keyboard, having fun translating summary into dialogue, description, and conflict. Now, normally, I prefer absolute quiet for my writing.

In The Seventh Tapestry. my heroine, Sandra Robertson, specializes in medieval art and artifacts, especially tapestries. I recalled a lovely Baroque concert we happened to find at the Museum of Medieval Art (Cluny), a locale at the heart of this story.

As I tried to remember the correct spelling of Machaut, my fingertips led me online to "Medieval Music: Guillame Machaut" on YouTube recording (and the correct spelling).

I spent the rest of the morning, writing and listening to Machaut and other medieval composers. Of course, Sandra now has medieval music in her office at work -- and she might take Thomas to a concert, just before their world falls apart!

May Spring bring you many adventures!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

IWSG: Just in Time Writing

Back when I was an international banker studying economics, spreadsheets, and productivity, a new way of managing inventory developed in Japan. Sometime in the 1960s, Toyota began experimenting with 'just in time' purchases as a way of using 'lean' inventories to reduce budget stress AND keep that manufacturing line moving.

This week, as I was browsing through advice from other writers, this strategy leaped off the page:

Balance PLANNING with WRITING (30 minutes a day)

I was immediately excited because this advice was JUST IN TIME!

For the last several months, I've been knee-deep in planning, so much so, that even as the plot summary and those character sketches came into focus, I lost sight of the story itself. My writer's inner voice started doubting and complaining as I worked to perfect the plot summary. My story lay on the page, abstract and unfinished.

Today's advice resonated. A green light flashed before my eyes, and I began to write those scenes that bring my characters together, in conflict, in danger, and, just maybe, in love.

I don't care so much about the 'perfect' plot summary any more, though I haven't given up on the planning side. That plot summary and those character sketches still need work.

But my characters are beginning to breathe as I work on writing each section. I'm excited to begin each day with THEIR story, balancing now between writing and planning.

And that's my May post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I hope you found my confessions helpful. May your reading, writing, revising, and editing go well!

Special thanks to  E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant for hosting May's posts. Check out what others have written HERE.

Blue Heron, Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico
(Camp, Feb 2018)

Monday, April 30, 2018

"Z" is for Ze End and Ze Beginning!

Ah, 'tis ze end of April
and poetry for now,
and zat means tomorrow brings
ze beginning. Zounds!
What are you zinking?
All ze music gone?
Zut! Nevair.
Zend me a zinger!

Flaming "Z" (fanpop)

Today's post is the very last entry for this year's April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Thank you for writing, reading, and making this Challenge possible. We made it! 

What's next in May will bring spring closer to all of us. Future posts here will update you on my current writing project, with stops along the way for an occasional poem, research highlights, and a few photos. May you cherish each day!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

"Y" is for Yesterday

I'm just thinking of yesterday:
we all begin innocent and yearning
for what sweet future
may be possible.
Some of us are quiet fighters,
unwilling to give in,
some of us learn to slide between
those inevitable challenges.
Maybe a very few
go on to have seamless lives.
I grew up blue-collar gritty,
sympathetic to the underdog,
now all too aware of how spring
festoons an old tree with blossoms.

Manito Park (April 2018)
We're very nearly at the very last entry for this year's April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I've enjoyed so much writing, yes, at the last moment, these poems and snippets all month long. Thank you for writing, reading, and making this Challenge possible!

Friday, April 27, 2018

"X" is for X-chaser

Back in the day when hand-held calculators
were new, and you were a kid, your father 
put you in the center of the living room
to perform math tricks
for friends. That stopped
after you purposefully made errors.
But your quick mind still does
calculations, relationships, and ratios,
as if solving x were some 
profound problem that
creates order out of chaos.

I never chased x and, I could say,
x never chased me. At first,
math enchanted me, the neat way 
a formula could lie on the page,
suggesting mysteries only I could solve.
And then we moved
and moved again,
and moved again. I was either ahead
or behind, and then forever behind.
Later, in a college required math class,
the instructor's mouth moved, 
spouting words I'd never heard.

Yet somehow, you forgive me this lack,
and I find value with
my hand in yours, 
your hand in mine, 
a very basic formula,
a perfect understanding.

I really wasn't sure what to write about today, for 'x' seems an unforgiving word, for me, rather like math. Then, I found this term, X-chaser in Paul Anthony Jones article, "40 Words That Start With X". Jones writes: "In old naval slang, an X-catcher or X-chaser was someone who was good at math—literally someone good at working out the value of x." And I thought of my husband.

I did enjoy accounting, though, and can't resist sharing this meme to honor a substitute teacher who pretty much responded in shock when she viewed my worksheets -- written in ink!

More about April's A-Z Blogging Challenge here:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"W" is for Windfall

Today began at 5 am. Yep, I'm drafting finally. Well, almost drafting. Mapping out scenes got me up early, ready to write. This morning felt like a windfall. All that extra time.

I finished today's writing about 8 am, still very early. So early that the two boxes of family momentos I've been meaning to look at, sort through, organize, and identify came into sharp focus.

What a windfall. Pictures ready to be scanned, some I'd never seen before. That's my grandmother, a delicate flower from the east coast (and Sweden). She fell in love with a cowboy back in 1918, just about the time of WWII. He taught her to ride, and she loved it!

Sigrid Henry c. 1920 (Wyoming)

In this next picture, notice the gun holster on her hip -- not just for snakes.

Frank and Sigrid Henry
Elk Mountain, Wyoming (c. 1920)
Once when my grandfather was working out on the range, a big black bear tried to come into their house. My grandmother shot the bear. This scene greeted my grandfather when he came home from work. That's my mother crawling around to play with 'the big doggie.'

Marion Louise Henry with the 'Big Doggie' (c. 1923)
A very few photos I can't identify at all. No notes on the back of the photo to guide me, but I'm scanning, writing notes and sharing, happy to find this windfall of family memories.

Allen on the Pacific Crest Trail (c. 1971)
I fanned through a set of Phillies' Score Cards from 1966, almost ready to throw these old game score cards away to find a picture of my dear husband I had never seen before.

He said the picture must have been taken post-Vietnam, while he was hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. He looks pretty ornery with long hair and a big smile on his face.

Guess I have another project!

Catch up on what others are writing about for April's A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. We're almost through the month, with only 3 letters to go!

More about April's A-Z Blogging Challenge here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"V" is for Veracity

After all these years, let us not
begin in a vacuum, with veiled venom,
your vocal verbs a volcanic venting. 
How very vexing. 
I want to veer back in your arms 
like a vandal, well-versed
in ways to vanquish your vast resistance,
luring you close with sweet revision,
perfumed with vanilla and violets,
until you truly view me, valiant,
without a veil, and together,
we hear once again those verses
played out by violin and viola,
as we venture once again
to renew our vows.

Corpus Christi, Spring 2016

This year, we honor forty-three years of marriage, not always an easy path, but one of adventure, celebration, mutual respect, and a commitment to talk through those times when we disagree. This last decade, I've wondered if this next set of years will be our last. For now, each day, each month, and each year, I will take joyously as a gift.

More about April's A-Z Blogging Challenge here: