ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

Heavy reading these days

on October 22, 2014

So, I’m continuing the World War 2 research.  I’m planning to draft it during National Novel Writing Month and I recommend this to anyone who needs that little extra bump to get moving on a project.  I’m nowhere near through with my research but it’s time to start writing an actual story.  I still don’t know where this project is going!

Anyway, earlier this week I finally finished dragging myself through Kristallnacht, a book by Martin Gilbert.  The accounts of Kristallnacht itself (when Nazi Germany erupted in “spontaneous demonstrations” against its Jewish citizens, destroying businesses and homes and arresting people and burning down synagogues) are harrowing enough.  And the chapter about the world closing its doors and turning its back on these people, even after the world knew all about the violence and outright thievery directed against them, is hard reading too.  But the worst part was how Gilbert summarized the deportations and mass killings.  A thousand a day, for seventeen days, and then all the Jews from City X were gone.

I’ve heard the six million figure as long as I can remember, and the three million ethnic Poles, and however many of other groups.  And it’s horrible.  Somehow, thinking about a thousand a day for however many days makes it more horrible.  It’s kind of like Matthew Shepherd and those guys who killed him saying he was intimidating when Matthew Shepherd was 5’2″ tall.

Anyway, I’m not sharing this to depress people.  But I’ve made another decision about the direction that the research is taking.  The Holocaust is a story that’s been told, by survivors, by those who were lost, by people who were there, and by people who weren’t but are far more eloquent than I am.  I want to write about the young people who fought and won the war.  And not just soldiers but underground, and all the support people.  Society didn’t really have the concept of New Adult then so I feel like I’m putting a new social construct onto an older society.  But all I can do is try.

I’m still waiting for a critique (I can’t remember if I wrote about that here and I can’t be bothered to look right now) of the first thousand words of What You Stand For.  It’s with an agent and I’m waiting to hear yes or no before I send it out again.  And yes, I have a new opening scene!  I figured out that what I really needed to do with the opening scene was to 1) show what kind of book this is; 2) show what kind of people these are; and 3) get the main conflict moving in the first scene.  I’m putting that up tonight too, so I hope everyone enjoys it.

I also want to say how grateful I am that people are following me–and reading and commenting.  I started this blog in the interests of getting myself out there as a writer, but now I’m enjoying it for its own sake.  It’s just a way to interact with the world as a professional even before I’ve made any sales or done any publishing.  And I hope you’re all enjoying the journey too.


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