The Aftermath…

….no one ever talks about it but as a writer I like to imagine the days that followed….

Three days of bloody battle…

7,363 men lost their lives….

17,224 were wounded….

but what happened to the quiet town of Gettysburg when the armies cleared out?

On July 1st, 1863 The Civil War made its way to the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where the battle lasted until July 3.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Battle of Gettysburg – the men involved – Chamberlain, Lee, Pickett, and Buford.

Chamberlain’s defense of Little Round Top, Pickett’s charge.

I am reminded on this anniversary that these weren’t the only men in town…the town was occupied, there were people left behind when the armies rolled out…what about them? Who is telling their stories?

Well, the history buff/writer in me has decided to answer this question that I’m always asking myself, so tonight as I sit down to work on my first historical novel, I’m asking myself this question (again) and trying to put myself into the shoes of the townspeople:

What would I have done on June 30th if I saw the cavalry ride into town and set up camp?

Or on July 1st when the battle started on the fields outside of town, or out behind my orchard?

What would I have done on July 4th if I woke up and in my backyard was the aftermath of a bloody battle?

What happened to the dead and wounded? Did life go on as usual in town in the days that followed?

These are the questions (and believe me there are more where these came from) that I’m asking myself as I work on this new project and I have to say it’s been very interesting to really explore Gettysburg’s history a little more in depth than I have before and sort of put myself in the shoes of an inhabitant of the town.

I’m enjoying working on this project so far even though it’s sort of taken a turn from my original plan but that’s okay…I’m going to go with the flow and see what happens from here!!

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The Risk of Predictability

I don’t want to be predictable….more specifically, I don’t want my story line to be predictable and I’m struggling with that tonight.

I’m working on a piece where the main character is searching for something – at the risk of giving away spoilers for those of you who know what I’m working on, I’m going to leave it at that…she’s searching for something.

For the majority of the novel she runs into dead-ends, she gets turned around, and takes some detours…is it ‘predictable’ if in the end she finds what she was searching for?

Is is too “happily ever after” if she finds what she was searching for all along? Or as a reader would you be more inclined to read a story where they don’t necessarily find what they are looking for?

Is it too hard for readers to identify with or relate to a character who gets exactly what they want.

These are the many questions I’ve been asking myself ever since this scene for my novel popped into my head last evening.

I guess what I’m asking is this – as a reader, would you be satisfied at the end of a novel if the main character gets what she spent the novel looking for – if I wrap the story up in a nice little bow, happily ever after style…

OR

If the character spent the entire novel searching in vain and coming up short?

Let me know what you think…I’m still hard at work on this novel and things can still change but I think for the ending I’d really like feedback from readers.

Thanks!

Blessings,

Megan

Book Review: Just One Summer

I was sent a copy of Just One Summer in exchange for an honest review…review writing is tough for me because I tend to revert to high school english class, literary analysis writing and I need to not do that…okay, enough babble…here’s the review : ) 

Just One Summer: A Romance Novella Collection by Nicole Deese, Tammy L. Gray, Amy Matayo, and (one of my favorite authors) Jenny B. Jones.

This collection of novellas centers around four friends and their summer plans – four friends who promised each other as young girls that they would meet at the same cabin every summer to come – then life happens.

Family conflict. Unhealthy relationships. Seeking adventure. A failed internship.

As much as life changes, one thing remains constant and that is the lifelong friendship between Joss, Darby, Avery, and Sydney.

Laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, and oddly nostalgic.

I usually try to avoid these types of anthologies for multiple reasons – not the least of which being that there is often little to no continuity between the novellas….that was NOT at all the case here.

The four friends were present in each of the four novellas in some form or another – either narrating their own story, or communicating with each other via text, email, call, etc.

I have also found that in most anthologies the writing suffers from one to another and that did not happen here. All four women are wonderful writers (and honestly if you haven’t checked out Jenny B. Jones yet you are MISSING OUT my friend!!), and though each had their own distinct style and voice, the flow between novellas was engaging and kept you wanting to read more and more.

I also find that in these tend to lack character development because the novellas are so brief but I was delightfully surprised by this collection and how the characters grew along the way.

It takes a special kind of book to hit me emotionally and this one got me square between the eyes. By the end I was reminiscing about summers spent camping with my friends, spending weekends together, and I realized that I need to reach out to them now that life has drawn us apart.

If you are looking for a great summer read, a beach read, or just a wonderful book I would highly recommend that you check out Just One Summer: A Novella Collectionwhile you’re at it check out Jenny’s other books (because they are all wonderful, and hilarious, and I know that you will love them)!