Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Witch's Heart

A year and a half ago, August, I was gathering information and doing research for this story but hadn't got beyond pencil sketches. I went to a local reenactment (The Fair at New Boston; I've raved about them before!).

I enquired of most everyone about gentlemen's clothing of the 1760s; and other mannerisms, and ended up spending a lot of time with a... musician is too loose a term. A maestro of period music. At one point he took out a 19th century violin from his cart, pointed out the differences between it and a modern violin, and played a very complicated melody. It wasn't even his primary instrument! He had a German flute, rare reproductions of 18th & 19th century music books, and a custom made pushcart with an awning to protect everything. Period music was obviously his overriding passion. Anyway, I asked him about clothes, and one thing he showed me was a pin.

A heart, with the point twisted to one side, and a crown of garnets.

"Most people wouldn't think to show you this," he said. "It's hidden under layers. But men's shirts were open-fronted and this held them closed."

He was wearing, he added naturally, an antique pin, and gave me the rest of the lore. "The Witch's Heart" was an English charm against witchcraft in the 1600s- early 1700s, similar to the Scottish Luckenbooth. It was pinned to baby blankets and baby clothes; infant mortality rates were high and people were superstitious. By 1800 it had become more of a lover's token, signifying "You have enchanted me."

I mean! A 200 year-old pin for his costume! And no one would even see it! THAT is being in character~!

I went home and drafted a chapter about it, I was so inspired. It's been reduced to this one page, unfortunately. If I ever redraw/rewrite this story from the beginning (it needs it!) it might get that chapter back. It has potent symbolism, but so does the pocket watch, and I'd have to time it more carefully so they're not competing for attention in the same chapter.

Finally I was able to share that story! By summer perhaps I will be able to share the REASON this is set in the very particular year of 1761...... 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Family matters in the 18th century

I'll recap a few things about the Stanhope family, since I'm probably confusing many of you. With a few added bits, just because.

Allan is Stephen's uncle, older by 6 years. Allan's father was the previous Earl and his older brother (Stephen's father) is the current Earl.

Good so far? Allan usually refers to his mother as "my mother," because they are close. He calls his brother "Hugh" because they are not close and it irks Hugh, ie, the Earl Stanhope, who desires more respect.

Allan's mother is Stephen's grandmother, but Stephen is a bit overawed by most adults and refers to her by her title, the Dowager Countess.

See, an earl's wife is not an Earl-ess. England has no Counts, but for whatever reason, the Earl's wife is known as a Countess. The widow of an Earl or other titled man adds Dowager to her title, until/unless she remarries. Her daughter-in-law is the Countess, so it keeps people from being confused.

It isn't typical for a title and a surname to be the same (ie, he's the Earl Stanhope and his last name is also Stanhope) but it is correct in this case. It's a null title now, although the surname is still around.

Also, here is what Wikipedia has to say about the unreliable narrator.

Think about who's doing most of the talking and if that term applies.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Allan's Good Intentions

If you've ever tried to lose 5 lbs and ended up gaining 10, you KNOW what this feels like. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

'A Dearth of Dragons'

Allan is my go-to character for tragicomic drunken monologues. The fae don't seem to want to talk- I have trouble getting them to take the stage, and they give me the worst trouble with dialogue once they're there. Going to have to sort that out- soon- anyway, what do you think of Allan's argument?

What is greatness? Does it really call for dragons and princesses (or equivalent daring deeds)? By phrasing it mythically, is he excusing himself from having to be heroic in any ordinary scenario? Is he protecting himself from failure with a creative excuse for not trying?

Or is it just a bunch of meaningless drunken rambling?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chilblains etc

The last few weeks in brief:

-The other desktop died- the motherboard, unfortunately. Not sure when we can replace it.
-Sold an item on Ebay for AT LEAST 3x its worth. I'm still in disbelief over that one. Too bad it was on the work account!
-Chilblains- not just an English malady!
-Gloom, Doom and Woe!~ (typical of this time of year)
-Snowpocalypse. Hit repeat.
-Management wants a lobby full of spring flowers, real flowers, grown from seed, in just one month....riiiight!
-Kaibil beret, you are a LONG way from home.
-A....blender...with a mineral ring.... that adds OXYGEN to the water and has AWESOME Life-Changing Properties?? And it sells for $200 used? Pull the other one!