Streamlining

This weblog first got going in 2003. For many years I posted at least once a day, usually on writing and craft themes, but I also reviewed novels and movies and did some autobiographical writing. Traffic here was lively for quite a long time.

Maybe five years ago now I started to slow down, in an effort to cut back on my wondrous collection of procrastination techniques. Now I rarely post here. If there’s news about a reading or new publication, I put that up on FaceBook, where I have two focal points: my own page, under Rosina Lippi, where I post about my personal life and politics, and the Sara Donati page, which is mostly about my work, the novels, writing advice.  On the Sara page I try to avoid the political, and mostly succeed. There is also the website for the Gilded Hour and its sequel. That’s where I am trying to collect all the research and bits and pieces that go into the novels set in Manhattan in the 1880s. 

Because this weblog is so old, it is cranky. There are lots of small problems and bigger problems that can’t really be fixed because it’s arthritic. After some thought, I’ve decided not to close it, but to streamline. What I hope to achieve is a collection of posts written between 2003 and now that people have found useful or interesting or funny.  I will keep any post that deals with writing and craft questions for writing fiction, and I will keep the memoir series. But otherwise, a lot of slashing and burning will be going on. 

This will take me a while to pull off, but before I get started I wanted to give my constant readers a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions. Some of you have really been here since 2003, and if there’s something you’d like to see me keep, I’d like to hear about that. 

Once I get started I will take down the weblog while I hack away at it, but I will keep all y’all updated via the Sara page on FaceBook

One of the problems I hope to fix by doing this has to do with commenting. You may be able to comment on this post, or gremlins may thwart you. I will cross post this to the Sara Donati page on FaceBook, where you are also free to make your opinions heard. If you have any, of course. 

Not quite an excerpt: Where the Light Enters

Over the coming months I will be posting bits and pieces about Where the Light Enters to help tide you over until publication.  This first time I’ve got a piece of my research to share. These real estate/rental ads are from the New York Times in 1884. The two outlined in yellow are relevant to the story. 

And they are, in my view of things, just plain interesting. The rental market has sure changed. 

click for larger size

Did I mention…

that I finished Where the Light Enters?  It will be 2019 before it hits the shelves, I’m sorry to say. But I did deliver it to my editor.

Help Me Name a Character

It often takes me a really long time to settle on a name for a character.  For example:  there is one young woman in Where the Light Enters whose name still is not right. I have some time to fix this — until the copy editing phase closes — but I’m at a loss. 

If you had 100+ daughters, you’d likely run out of names, right? Think of it that way. Elizabeth, Hannah, Martha, Lily, Jennet, Anna, Sophie, Rosa, Lia, Laura, Margaret, Nora – all unavailable.  

Sometimes I try to get my imagination going by looking at old census records, reading old newspaper stories, or considering fictional characters from 19th century novels. I also spend time looking at paintings from the right time period.  This painting  by the swedish artist Carl Larsson, (1853-1919, so just about Anna and Sophie’s age) is the kind of thing I mean — it really captures the detail of farming life in the later 1800s. Looking at the clothing of the women working in the fields.

Unfortunately, none of those methods has worked for this new character, who name, right now, is Betty Miller. And that is not right.

Lisbeth, by Carl Larsson

What I can tell you about her: she grew up in an orphan asylum, and will eventually come into her own.  Where Carl Larsson’s Lisbeth is healthy and happy, my Betty Miller is not either of those things, to start. But hopefully will get there, one day.  

So I’d like to hear suggestions, first names or even first and last names. Remember, this is somebody born ca. 1865 so Tiffany or Jordan or Montana won’t work.

Let your imagination run riot, please. If I use the name you come up with, I will thank you in the acknowledgements.