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Monthly Archives: May 2018


 

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Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812

 

This month we have gone over how I will be developing plot, primary characters, and secondary characters of the yet unnamed novel that I will be writing this November for NaNoWriMo in November. Now we are going to discuss the other main aspect of a book and that is setting.

What I know About the Place and Time

In a screen play, the setting and time are separated, but in my novels, I combine the time with the setting. In my yet unnamed book, I know my setting and that is Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1812 through 1815. I grew up in that county, so I know the terrain. The difference, of course, would be how man has changed certain aspects of the area and how people did things differently back then. The trees were old growth trees, some so big that it took two men to put their arms around them. The house I grew up in had been built around 1860 from old growth timber. The sawn lumber produced wide boards and you could see the two-man saw marks on many of the marks the handsaw made in at lumber. The stairs going up to the second story was and is still held together with square-headed blacksmith nails. It is not hard to imagine going back a few years further and imagining before when the houses were log cabins built using the same two-man saws and wooden pins holding puncheon logs together.
At the time, the growing villages of Erie and Waterford were starting to develop into sizable communities. Some of the homes in the area were already built as stick rather than log houses. It is a little-known fact that in Erie at the time, street lamps were already using natural gas to light up the muddy village streets.
A ship yard had been developed in early. During the War of 1812, President James Madison ordered the construction of a naval fleet at Erie to regain control of Lake Erie. Shipbuilders Daniel Dobbins of Erie and Noah Brown of New York led construction of four schooner-rigged gunboats and two brigs. Oliver Hazard Perry arrived from Rhode Island to command the squadron. His fleet successfully fought the British in the historic Battle of Lake Erie, which was the decisive victory that solidified United States control of the Great Lakes.

In addition, wild animals still prowled the area. Families worked hard and the fear of Indian attack was still a possibility.

The Back-drop for Character Activity

These pictures of life in this part of the Great Lakes Region give a back drop for the characters and events that I develop in this book that I plan to write in November. In the meantime, I have two other books to develop and ready for publishing as well as eleven other books to promote. I will let you know more about this book after I finish the first draft in November.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.
Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK
Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown

More from Cygnet Brown

Also read my guest blog post on Pam Young’s Blog

The Journey of a Self-Publisher is Paved with Good Intentions (5)

https://skatingthru2012.com/2018/05/27/i-could-find-ways-to-make-things-happen-on-my-own/

 

 

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The Plight of the Unnamed Crew Member

galaxy quest

The Crew of Galaxy Quest with the unnamed crew member on the far right back of picture

Last week we discussed the main characters which include the protagonist, antagonist, and the love interest (Haven’t Read it? Here’s the Link) In addition to a protagonist, antagonist, and love interest, there are other characters in the story and these are called secondary characters. What you don’t want for secondary characters is what I call the “unnamed crew member” in other words, you don’t want too many of those people who are only there to serve the protagonist and antagonist. If you’ve ever seen Galaxy Quest, you’ll probably remember the plight of the unnamed crewmember is vaporized at the beginning of the episode to indicate that the idyllic planet that they were on was not so idyllic.

Secondary Characters are Not Just Props for the Main Characters

It is too easy to use secondary characters as simple props for the main characters. You wouldn’t want someone using you for their own gains, and I don’t think that secondary characters like being used that way either. Therefore, just as you develop the protagonist, antagonist, and love interests, you want to develop their sidekicks as well.
So how do you do that? To develop secondary characters, I create character sketches and work to get inside of their heads.

How to Develop a Character Sketch

A character sketch is a document that tells the physical, emotional, mental and social aspects of a character. It takes you from telling about the character and actually getting inside of his head.

What goes into a secondary character’s sketch? To create a character sketch, you want to have a number of things that you know about this character. First, you want to know a little about this person’s physical appearance, but you want go a little deeper than what color hair, how tall, and the color of their eyes. Does this person have any scars? How did he or she get it? Was the protagonist or antagonist there when it happened? Do they have any other physical defining characteristics? Did he or she have an illness as a child or older that caused other physical defects, limps or whatever? Does this person have any bad habits like smoking or drinking too much? How does this person relate to the protagonist and antagonist? If the protagonist is controlling, how does the sidekick relate? Does he feel intimidated? Does he resent the main character’s control over him? What is his or her history with the protagonist/antagonist/love interest? Have they always known one another or how did they meet? What kinds of things did they do together in the past? The more well-rounded you can get your secondary characters, the more well-rounded your story will become.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

 

Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.

(Have you read Book III of the Locket Saga: A Coward’s Solace? If not, a copy May 22-28, 2018 at a discount.)

Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK
Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown


prince madoc

Every story has its main characters. The protagonist is the good guy and the antagonist is the bad guy. In a romance novel there is also the love interest.

The Protagonist

I think the protagonist will be Joseph McCray, Elizabeth and Phillip’s youngest son. He is very much like his brothers and sisters. He is like his mother in that he likes adventure, so he goes with his Cousin Jonathan Mayford to Erie to work at the shipyard building the Great Lakes Fleet.

The Antagonist

If you haven’t noticed, most of The Locket Saga series does not have a lot of antagonists per se. If there could be an antagonist in most of the series, it would be the environment or perhaps the friction between the future bride and groom. Even the two books that are coming up, Two Rivers and Sunrise on the Mississippi don’t have any other antagonist than the environment and the struggle preventing the couple from being together. It is not that I don’t think they are good stories. I do, but I want to change that for the book that I write in November. I want to include a real villain.

In The Anvil, I put James in as a pseudo-antagonist where Robert thought that James and Judith had a love relationship, but that was an illusion. For this story, I want a real antagonist. Perhaps I could have a British spy set out to destroy the Niagara. This person could be someone who has an interest in the protagonist’s girl who finds the other guy charming, or maybe not. I will have to keep you guessing throughout the book. Don’t you think?

The Love Interest

So, who should this love interest be? If she is anything like the other female love interests of the series, she is a hardy female. No matter what situation she finds herself in she can handle the situation and the man at her side. She is sure of herself. She doesn’t accept the female stereotype of fragile female. Not even Lowri, the noblewoman of Sailing under the Black Flag, was able to stand up for herself.
The girl of this story also probably lives at the port in Erie. Imagine a girl living in a town along one of the Great Lakes knowing that at any time, the enemy, who’s territory is just across Lake Erie, could invade the secluded town. This, of course is just how I see this story might unfold. I won’t even be doing the character sketches until October.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.
Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK
Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown


the enemyHave you ever wondered what it takes to write one of the books in the Locket Saga? Because each book is part of a family dynamic, I already have the already in place for the characters, I must decide the plot. In determining the plot, I first decide what events I want to cover in the book.

Research Begins with Curiosity

I get inspiration for my books from actual history. I like reading history and our country is rich in history that we never are exposed to in school so its easy for me to find a story that I want to share in future stories of the Locket Saga.

Setting Up for Future Stories in the Locket Saga

In Book VII of the Locket Saga, Two Rivers, I decided that I wanted to have two of the cousins Isaac Thorton and Andrew Mayford go down the Ohio River with Meriwether Lewis as he forms the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Isaac goes up river with the expedition. I had been curious to know about the details of the expedition and was fortunate enough to find an online site that not only told the adventure from one view point, but from the viewpoints of numerous members of the expedition party. The plot for this book, not only sets up this story, but also the plot for the next book which I have the first draft written called Sunrise on the Mississippi where Andrew becomes the first person to pilot a steamboat down the Mississippi. By sending Andrew down the Mississippi into Natchez, I am setting set up a southern branch to the family in preparation for the saga continuing through the Civil War.
The book after that will be the book that I will work on next during NaNoWriMo. I am not exactly sure yet what the plot will be, but I have some ideas from history for developing this plot. I have decided that the story will happen during the War of 1812. There’s a lot of cool history for the part of Pennsylvania where the families were living. There’s the fact that Chief Cornplanter comes out of the woods and no one is certain whether he is at this point a friend or an enemy because during the Revolution, the Seneca were on the side of the British. There’s the fact that Jonathan Mayford had been on a ship during the Revolution and that many of the young men of the revolution were the heroes of the War of 1812. The fact that he knows something about ship building from his father and that his relatives don’t live that far from Erie, Pennsylvania, port where battles on Lake Erie originated was, makes Erie a great setting for the story.
So, I have a lot of subplot material, but I haven’t yet determined yet who will get the locket, or the love story involved. This is what I need to develop before including it as a blog post. This needs more development. This I will show how this will develop during the next blog post.

The Locket Saga Series

The Locket Saga 5 books

 

Have you read the books already published in the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of the Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.

 

Available on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007SM23IK

Available in Print http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown

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