|Library of Congress|
These snowy days have been perfect for making some good progress on the Civil War novel (working title THIS WAS THE WAY OF IT.) And I've at last gotten a handle on the personality of one of the most difficult (unsympathetic) characters -- to the point that he's talking to me like the others are.
The novel is fiction, of course. But it's based on real people and real incidents in my county. I've spent the past few years getting a grasp on the various versions of what happened -- and there are various versions, believe me. In the end, I simply had to go with what seems to be accepted by most folks as the probable truth and tweak it here and there to make a good story
I've just finished a chapter set in a Rebel camp and I spent a lot of time on the internet, looking for the little details that will bring the story to life -- like these tents with chimneys topped with barrels in the picture above from an informative site HERE.
I hadn't realized how many photographs there are from the era -- these are from various collections in the Library of Congress. Itinerant photographers made this a very well documented war and these photos provide a wonderful resource that helps me to visualize the people and places I'm writing about
Some of these photos make me smile -- look at those four guys showing off! And others -- like the picture below of an apprehensive looking, very young soldier with his Bowie knife -- break my heart.
These are the stories I'm trying to tell -- not the dry facts of battles and skirmishes, but the effects of this conflict on the people -- soldiers and civilians on both sides.
Don't ask when it will be available -- don't even ask when it'll be done. When the characters have finished with me, I reckon. At this moment they're crowding around me and jabbering in my ear, eager to tell me just what was the way of things back then.