Friday, February 26, 2010

Two Down, Two to Go

I finished two chapters in two days this week.

Both chapters had a start when I worked on them. Chapter 17 had ten and one-half pages written as of February 8th. I was getting frustrated that, between my training for my new service mission in family history and other obligations, I did not get back to it until this week. But, Monday I finished it up. Fifteen pages of single-spaced 8-1/2 by 11 inch pages. Whew!

Chapter 18 had more of what I would describe as sourdough bread starters for two parts. They were thoughts that crept in my mind earlier in the novel, and I wrote down the pieces as they formed so I would not forget them. Together they filled a little over a page. I finished the chapter of ten and one-half pages Tuesday.

Last night, it was back to reading one of Michio Kaku's books, Einstein's Cosmos. In the past year I have read other books on Einstein and related physics topics. However, I find Mr. Kaku's writing style among the easier for me with my non-physics brain to understand.

The study of physics has always scared me to death. Now, after all these years, I find I need to understand a bit about physics for my novel. How can I portray Cy Riverton, my math and physics whiz-kid, well without at least a basic understanding of his world?

I mean, I finally learned how spinning magnets generate electricity. When I shared this amazing new insight with my husband, he gave me one of those "Well, duh!" looks. He is into construction and ham radios and knows all about that.

My background is similar to what F.B.I. Special Agent Lee Hardin will say in an upcoming chapter, "When I was in college, I was a chemistry man, you know what I mean?"

Oh, by the way. I came to understand this week that in the F.B.I. they are not just "agents." They are special agents. So, part of this week was spent going back to the beginning of the book and making that edit. That was on Wednesday.

It is time now to write up a new set of survey questions and get Chapters 15 through 18 out to my critique readers. This last section of the book is a long one. I look forward to their input on what I have in these chapters before I finish the book.

Two more chapters to go. Three at the most. Yay!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Love It When Things Come Together

The situation in my current section of Aurora Rescue could not have worked out better if I had planned it that way from the start.

Marty meets up with a young slave woman. As a child, she was the slave to a young white girl. The two played together and loved each other like sisters.

I had to come up with mid-19th century names for these girls, so I drew from some of the less common family names from my husband's family tree. One was Jemima, or "Mima", which was found several times on the Echols family tree. The other was Keziah. Actually, none of the women in his line had the first name Keziah or Kesiah, but his paternal great-grandmother's surname was Kizziar.

When I went back in the historical records for Kizziar, I found that name had a variety of spellings, including Cizia in 1799:

Cuzziah in 1800:

Kisiah in 1802:

and Kizziah in 1813:

What was consistent was that when I did a name search for Kissiah or Kezziah or any of the many spelling variations, what I almost always came up with was Kesiah or Keziah or another spelling variation as as woman's GIVEN name.

Because of the "Aunt Jemima" stereotype, I decided to give the Jemima name to my white character. I named my slave character Keziah.

Then I got to wondering. Where did the name Keziah as a given name for women come from? I knew it was common in the 19th century to use (a) family names, (b) names of famous people, or (3) Biblical names.

So, I looked it up.

Keziah, or Kezia, was one of the daughters of Job in the Old Testament.

So, when I got to the part of my story when Marty asks the young slave woman how she spells her name, the woman responds that she does not know. Slaves are not allowed to learn how to read or write, she only knows that she was named after one of the daughters of Job in the Bible.

Marty reads the part in the Bible about Job having three daughters. The second daughter was named Kezia. None of the sons were named, but the book states that the three daughters were given an inheritance like their brothers.

Guess what the name is of the oldest daughter of Job?


Yes, I love it when things come together.