Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the blog. Last week I talked about using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson to begin a story. If you missed last week’s post, you can go read it here. This week, I would like to take that one step further.
First, I wrote a summary sentence. To recap from last week, here is what I wrote.
Hardhearted widow purchases indentured servant newly arrived to the American colonies.
The next step is to take that sentence and write a paragraph that goes into more detail. After a week of searching the internet and playing around with a few ideas, here’s what I came up with.
Widow, Mercy Wakefield is bitter. Her husband made promises that he never kept. Now she is left with the farm and no one to help work it. When a ship arrives with convicts from England, she believes she has an answer to her dilemma. Trouble is one of them just might be her dead husband.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that grabs my attention. How could it be her husband, if her husband is dead?
My paragraph is a good one. However, I’m forgetting about my hero.
Gabriel Wakefield is searching for his twin brother who was taken from him when they were young. He is in London when he is convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to transportation to the American colonies for seven years. His indenture is purchased by a sharp-tongued slip of a woman, and Gabriel finds himself giving his word that he will not try to escape in exchange for having his chains removed. In an attempt to find a way to send a letter home, he breaks his promise and escapes, only to learn the lady he is working for is his sister-in-law. When his innocence and his brother’s death are proven, Gabriel is free to act upon the attraction he feels for the woman who purchased his indenture.
According to Ingermanson, the next step in writing a paragraph is to tell the story. Story set-up, major disasters and end of the novel should be in that paragraph. So, let me see if I can do that.
Embittered widow, Mercy Wakefield purchases an indentured servant to help her run her farm. When a ship arrives with convicts from England, she believes she has an answer to her dilemma. Trouble is one of them just might be her dead husband. On a mission to find his long lost brother, Joshua, lord Gabriel Wakefield, second son of an earl is accused of highway robbery and sentenced to transportation to the American colonies for seven years. His indenture is purchased by a sharp-tongued slip of a woman, and Gabriel finds himself giving his word that he will not try to escape in exchange for having his chains removed. Expecting her servant to b like her late husband, Mercy is surprised when he keeps his word and works hard to bring in the harvest and improve the farm. Hoping to send a letter home to ask his family for help, Gabriel breaks his promise and escapes. Only after he is caught and punished by the law does he realize Mercy is his sister-in-law. Hurt and angry, Mercy sends a letter to her late husband’s family to ask for help and ignores her growing attraction for Gabriel. When Gabriel’s family arrive with proof of his innocence, all are faced with the realization that Joshua Wakefield was the one who committed the crime. With his sentence revoked, Gabriel assumes his brother’s title of Viscount and heir apparent to his father’s earldom and asks Mercy to be his wife.
So, what do you think? This paragraph is not perfect, and I’m glad it isn’t set in stone. Already, I’m seeing holes in it, but I do think it is a good start. Ideally, Ingermanson says this paragraph should be 5 sentences, but as you can see, I haven’t narrowed it down that far, yet. However, both the paragraph for Mercy and the one for Gabriel are each five sentences long, which works for me, for now. See why we writers call our stories works in progress? 🙂
I know for those of you who aren’t writers, it sounds like I’m repeating myself, but I wanted to give you an idea how the writing process works. For those of you who are writers, I wanted you to know that all stories start out bad. LOL Keep in mind, too, I’m trying something new. I have never outlined a story with the intent of writing it. Time will tell if this one works out. I think it will, though. I can’t get these characters out of my head. I just need to research them more fully. I’m thinking late 1600’s or early 1700’s, which means learning how they spoke, dressed and thought in colonial America. If some of my characters are titled peers of the realm, I’ll need to learn how that works, too.
I have read several stories about men buying women servants and falling in love, but I have only read one other story where the woman purchases a man. I like to mix things up and see what happens. In one secular romance book, the woman is weak and doesn’t know how to be anything but an aristocratic lady, while the man is a ship builder. So, what if my heroine knows how to work the fields and care for animals? What if she must make hard decisions, like whether or not to have her servant punished for running away? What if our son of an earl had to eat some humble pie? What if she teaches him how to have fun? Getting into the Christian aspects of it, what if our hero’s Christ-like attitude taught our heroine a thing or two about forgiveness, trustworthiness and faith?
FYI, because story puzzles don’t leave me quickly, I have already written a few small scenes with these characters. Twice over the weekend, conversation popped in my head, and I had to go write it down before I forgot. No real action around the dialog, except what scenes I picture in my head, but at least I was able to sleep without dreaming of Mercy and Gabe. 🙂
Thanks for being with me as I share this new adventure. Pray for me and this story, when you think of it, and please don’t steal my characters’ names. Catch you next week, when we will examine step 3 in the snowflake method. Between now and then, remember to smile, because Jesus loves you.
If you like my blog and want more, I’m also blogging at adkinsandwells.blogspot.com. To learn more about Randy Ingermanson and his Snowflake method, visit his website.