Posted by: mew | July 10, 2010

week nine: stories of the south

I’m still around, and in spite of missing out on posting my updates for the past two+ weeks, I’m still in the workshop, hanging on by my fingernails.

The integral settings exercise came in at 3000 words before I’d finished all of it, so I decided not to publish it.  Most of that was the research about another culture.  I chose to do some research for a trilogy plot that had been lingering for many years in the back of my brain, and narrowed in on the Native American tribes whose territories actually intersected the Oregon Trail circa 1850-1865.  (Yeah, I got really specific.)  Surprisingly, only two of the many plains tribes qualified.  But then, even with just two cultures/peoples/histories to worry about, that was a lot.  And I had to research the settlers’ end of things, too, because, well, that was a huge part of the picture for those tribes at that time.  The settlers were threatening their traditions, their cohesion, and their very survival.

There was a lot of information available, more than I had bargained for, and of course some of it clashed a little bit with my neat-o plot, so that meant I had to put pen to paper and do a huge, sprawling, mind-map-style brainstorming session for the series.  That part was so much fun.

Is it just me, or is daydreaming about a novel the most carefree, light-hearted part of the whole enterprise?

I may steal bits of the exercise and post about it in the coming weeks, the parts where I analyzed my own home setting here, which have come in really handy this past week as I began to tackle the last of the three four-week units, the one in which I aim to write four short stories set hereabouts — or at least in the South.

The first story is actually written now, which amazes me.  It needs work, but the first draft is finished.

I do sort of want to tell y’all about it, and about my plans for the next story.  But in a way I’m almost afraid to discuss it.  It’s like a secret project that might blow up in my face if I stare too hard at it or look to close or expose it to another’s view.  Obviously, I have some issues writing about my native place and culture.  That came up in yesterday’s blog post at the main blog, too, strangely enough.

I guess the only way to get through it is just to write through it.

As the old-timers say in North Georgia, “That’s ezackly what ah’m own do.”

(Do you see why I don’t write dialect?  Ugh!)

(My apologies for not putting in any photos with this post.  I’m too tired to wait for uploads tonight.  If you want some beautiful photos, you can head over to The Enchanted Earth instead.)



  1. I can definitely relate to that. But yes, the only way to get through it is to…well, go through it! I hope to hear more about them though 🙂

  2. Well done, Meredith. I can see this is going to be a really intense series for you. Good luck!

  3. You cracked me up with the bit about the daydreaming. Oh, yeah. Resonate, resonate, resonate.

  4. I haven’t even read this post yet — but wanted to send you this link:

    It’s a commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College maybe 5 years ago. Thought you might enjoy it since you write like him……

  5. Yes, daydreaming about it is the best part!

    I have a novel in my head, too, but it would require a lot of research into San Antonio in the 1940s. I “think” that I may get around to it when my children leave home. 🙂

    What IS your native place and culture?

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