Monday, November 6, 2017

Shared WIP Tag III- The Story World

Congratulations to Joan Edwards who won RESTART from last week's giveaway.

Thanks to almost five hundred people who read my second blog in this mini-series of posts about my WIP. That's a new record for a blog post about Half-Truths! In this post, Julian Daventry (the ring leader for these posts) challenged me and my fellow bloggers with ten more thought-provoking questions. Click here for Part I in this series, and Part II.

1. Name a unique aspect of your story world.

Both neighborhoods, Myers Park where Kate Dinsmore lives with her grandparents, and Cherry, an African American neighborhood where Lillian Harris lives three miles away, still exist.  Several years ago I met a gentleman who grew up in Myers Park. Although his grandparents’ home is now subdivided into condominiums, we walked through parts of it. I have used it as a model for the Dinsmore home--including the gardens and the barn out back that once stabled horses. 

George Snyder pointing out the "LS" (his grandfather's initials)
carved into the shutters on his grandparents' home. 

One of my other experts was an elderly gentleman who grew up in Cherry. One day he drove me around the neighborhood and showed me his church and the home he grew up in. 

Price Davis outside his childhood home in Cherry.

2. Talk about one of the important animals in the story (someone's pet or horse; or a fierce animal the MC must defeat).

When Kate leaves eastern, NC to live with her wealthy grandparents, she brings along her goat, Eileen. In a lot of ways Eileen represents Kate’s past that she doesn’t want to let go of. But, Eileen is stubborn and rambunctious and in some ways she represents Kate’s future too. (I’m not going to explain that. You’ll have to read the book to find out more!)

This is research.

3. A paragraph describing something in your storyworld (building, landmark, etc.).

Occasionally, Kate writes poems. In this scene Kate is walking back to her grandmother’s house after secretly meeting Lillian in Cherry. (Crossroads is the fictional town where Kate grew up.)

In Crossroads, nights were soft blankets
stars, my friends.
In the city, harsh street lamps glare,
Giant shadows loom behind every tree.
Footsteps echo.
Is someone following me?

Run across Kings Road.
Safe in Myers Park now.
Goosebumps prick my skin.
Monster mansions line the road.
Quiet. Solemn. 
They don’t care about a country gal
rushing past.
I belong here,
Not in Cherry.
Where Negros live.

4. Something dangerous in your story world.

This is part of a scene when Kate and Lillian go downtown together.

Over the lunch counter the WHITES ONLY sign accuses me. I stare at the chalkboard menu next to the large mirror. Will the waitress serve Lillian? She should! Lillian’s sand-colored skin is almost as white as mine! Now I understand why she’s wearing a suit. With less of her skin showing, she’ll blend in better.
      The waitress takes our order without giving either of us a second glance. I spin my stool, trying to relax.  The police officer who had shoved past us when we were standing outside Liggett’s swaggers past the colored kids. He stops, twirls his nightstick, and says something I can’t hear. Whatever he says, the kids nod their heads obediently. But when he turns his back, a boy sticks his tongue out. The kids hold their hands up to their mouths as if holding in laughter.
      I twirl back and look at our reflection in the mirror. Lillian is sipping her Coca Cola like she’s savoring every ounce. “Don’t look now, but that fat policeman we saw outside just walked in,” I whisper. “Pretend like you’re minding your own business. Maybe he won’t see us.”
     “I AM minding my own business,” Lillian hisses back. 
     “Hey there, Officer Duckworth,” the waitress calls. “Want your usual?”
     “Yes, Susie. Two hot dogs all the way!” he looks up and down the counter. “You’re mighty crowded here today. There ain’t a place for a hard-working officer of the law to rest his aching feet.”
     “It’s the special,” Susie jots down his order on her pad. “Brings everyone in off the street.” She jerks her finger towards the colored kids and wrinkles her nose. “‘Specially them.”
     “They shouldn’t give you no trouble,” Officer Duckworth says. “If they do, you just let me and my partner here handle it.” He taps his nightstick that’s hanging from his hip.
      Officer Duckworth strolls along the row of stools, greeting some of the customers, and patting a few on the back. He’s heading right for us! What are we going to do if he figures out Lillian is colored? We’ll be arrested and dragged off to jail! I can’t believe Lillian’s put us in such danger. When Grandmother finds out what we’ve done, I’ll never be allowed out of the house again.
     Lillian’s eyes meet mine in the mirror. Outside of a vein pulsing in her neck, her face is as calm as the fish pond behind Pop’s house. She pats my hand. “My Daddy always says, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained!’”   
     I grit my teeth. More than anything I want to be mad at her, but I can’t. 
     Her passing was my idea.

5. Something delightful in your story world.

Remember the marble in Post II? Kate's grandfather gives one to her one to and Lillian. Uncomfortable with receiving a gift from her white employer, Lillian tries to give it back:

“Nonsense! I have more than I can ever play with.” He laughs and shakes his head. “Besides, who’s going to tell me that an old man can’t give trinkets to two pretty young women?” 
 He slides the marble drawer closed. “It’ll be our secret,” he says. Then he sits down and picks up his paper. I toss my marble from one hand to another. Do I want to share a secret with Lillian? 
Thunder rattles the window. Suddenly, the library door slams open. As if string ties our hands together, Lillian and I pocket our marbles at the same time. 

6. A movie soundtrack that would complement the setting.
I have no idea. But here's a song Kate likes to dance to:
More Research

7. How does the geography impact the story?

The physical landscape doesn’t play much of a part, but this is a uniquely southern story. I recently explained the premise to an older friend in Grand Rapids, MI. Her response made me realize that the politics and history of the South—although studied in other parts of the country—may shock readers who have not lived in the South.

8. Is there a particular location or time period your story you had in mind when creating your story world?

North Carolina, 1952. As a result, I've read about the Korean War, McCarthyism, tobacco farms, fashion, cars, name it. See my Pinterest boards for pictures!

9. What is the climate like, and does it play a role in the story?
It's hot and humid in the summers, but that doesn't play a huge role. I've realized that I probably have included too many storms though...

10. Are there any traditions, and do they have an effect upon the plot? 

I can't think of any!

I hope you'll check out my fellow bloggers answers and see how they answered these questions.


Connie Porter Saunders said...

I enjoyed reading more about your WIP. So looking forward to it!!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Connie. That means so much to me!

Helena George said...

AHHH!!! This story sounds so wonderful!! And that snippet....MUST find out what happensssss!! You have put such effort into your research and worldbuilding, I can tell. And the goats just make things worth it!

Carol Baldwin said...

THanks so much! Yep. Lots of hours.

sheri levy said...

What a fun way to build more interest in your story. I love the questions asked. Can't wait to read more! Grea blog post!

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks, Sheri. The questions have made me think and probe!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Oh, Carol, your excerpts were breathtaking. That scene at the soda fountain made my heart hammer. I loved the poem too. And GOATS! I’m eager for the day when I can read the entire book.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks so much, Clara. I'm eager for that day too!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Your excerpts are addictive, meaning I want to read more of Half-Truths.

I am excited that I won the CDs for Gordon Korman's RESTART. I'll also share with my grandchildren.

Never Give Up
Celebrate you

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad the excerpts are addictive, Joan!! I know you'll love RESTART.

Rosi said...

Another interesting post, Carol. Good luck with this.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Rosi!!

Linda A. said...

I loved hearing your responses. This exercise was interesting and got my hopes up for the publishing of your manuscript.

Carol Baldwin said...

Linda--thank you so much! Your comment inspires me to have hope too!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
This is very cool. They really brought out great emotions and possibilities! Their thesaurus book must be totally awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Never Give Up

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Joan. I think you meant this to be on my other post this week--but that's OK. I got it and appreciate it!

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