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latte scone and journal

My weekly fix: Cafe au lait, scone, and creative writing time.

Just as with October, my goal for November was to write two short stories. I’m still running on schedule and wrapped up the second story today!

Last month I shared time management steps I made to create more time for my creative work. This month I’ll mix things up a bit and share a few of my favorite lines from the stories, and some resources that are helping inform my settings and characters.

The first story is “Porte Cochere.” In an early scene, the characters are on their way to a cemetery:

Harriet admires the pines towering above them. The trees’ height and shade feel like the buildings in the city, even housing wild tenants up above.

Once they’re in the cemetery, they find a man:

He looks at the shoes Harriet holds in one hand, her dirtied stocking feet, and tilts his neck back like the old gravestones to get a look at Sam.

Until a better title surfaces, the second story is temporarily titled “Fishing in Maine.” In one scene, the main character swims alone in a lake at dusk and is disappointed with the night:

It wasn’t like the evening when a doe swam by, her eyes wide and her breaths in quick gasps. The breathing had reminded him of girls he had had in high school. Tonight also wasn’t like the time a wood duck had circled him on his entire swim back to the dock, like Fred was the center of some wild carousel.

Later on, Fred’s about to leave a small store and the store owner Grady has stepped away:

He noticed the butt of Grady’s cigarette on the counter, still smoking, just inches from a rack of glossy brochures. Fred couldn’t leave with a clear conscience if the cigarette remained burning. He tossed it in Grady’s coffee and stepped out into the morning sun.

My goal for December is slightly more challenging, but I’m equally (if not more) excited about the next stories. My December goal is to write three stories. One takes place during a robbery in Manhattan, another in an attic in Hastings, New York, and the other is about a man who names a former lover the executrix of his will.

The stories I’m writing take place from 1900-1970. All of the stories are set in New York and Maine. Through my research of the time periods on Long Island, Manhattan and Upstate New York, I’ve come across a few resources that I find both inspiring and informative! These are especially helpful if you find yourself writing historical fiction.

  1. Fulton HistoryNew York Public Libraries provide a link to historical newspapers in New York. While I was initially using the Fulton History database to find obituaries during my family history research, I realized this database is a fountain of nostalgia. Pick any random issue from the 40s or 50s and simply look at the advertisements. If you’re writing historical fiction, include products of the era to help create authenticity in your characters’ lives.
  2. Ephemeral New York – Curious of what Manhattan was like 50, 100, 200 years ago? The posts on Ephemeral New York center on all details of Gotham’s yesteryears: photos of faded building letters, political undercurrents of years gone by, profiles of unique and obscure people, and lots of New York-centric tidbits. I subscribe to this blog and love getting the updates.
  3. NYGenWeb – If you’re looking for anything related to New York genealogy and history, I highly recommend bookmarking NYGenWeb. Old maps, cemetery details, links to books, military records, historical societies, and the list goes on.

Have you written period pieces? What resources do you use in your research?