This post is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, wherein participants blog throughout the month according to the letters of the alphabet. For more on the challenge, click here.
Note: If anyone wondered, I tagged the blog as having adult content due to a few factors: one, strong language; two, the possibility that excerpts I post may have graphic descriptions of sex or violence and therefore unappealing to some readers. Never fear, though, I’ll be sure to warn y’all if a post of that nature comes up! In the meantime, feel free to read on!
Cheers and happy ABC’ing,
Aside from a fun word and the title of a Smashing Pumpkins album which we will not speak of, what the heck is zeitgeist, anyways? Well, if we check out the lovely Dictionary.com app, it is:
— noun. German
1. The spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.
In the case of this story, I had to get a general feel for the same location, but during two different time periods. There’s what Darcy experiences, the present-day small town vibe—that one wasn’t difficult, seeing as I can draw on personal experience. On the other hand, though, there’s that same small town at the turn of the twentieth century, when the area was actually growing and large chunks of the world were doing their best to ignore rising tensions in Europe.
It’s a good thing I like reading about history, because this has required some research. When you write anything with a historical bent to it, it’s not just about knowing what they would have worn (was this in the time when men wore heels? Were corsets still a thing? How old were boys before they got to wear full-length pants?) but also how their thinking would have differed from ours and why. Darcy thinks nothing of baring her legs or shoulders; Eliza Lawson, on the other hand, would be scandalized at the idea. (Skin! Gasp!)
In this case, it’s not just about getting inside your characters’ heads, although that’s always important. It’s also about understanding what went on in their day, what they were reading, what shaped their thinking the way a particular album of music might have shaped Darcy’s. Figuring out the world your characters lived in when you had no opportunity to experience it yourself and yet can’t make it all up isn’t easy, but it’s an interesting exercise.
Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and read during the challenge. It’s been fun as always! In thanks, I’ll let you get a feel for the story I’ve been talking about all month. Here’s the prologue to H(A)UNTED.
It’s a cold night even for the end of October and I wish I’d brought my jacket, but I wasn’t exactly thinking of that when I left. I was focused on leaving before I could hurt anyone any further, before I could see the disappointed looks on some faces, the plain disbelief and denial on others. What’s a girl to do in that situation but leave? I seem to be getting good at it, at any rate.
It’s even colder out on the bridge, the wind over the water cutting through my layers of clothes and the ridiculous corset I forced myself into for the sake of a costume. The outfit feels wrong now, like I’m violating an old memory that hasn’t had a chance to scar yet.
The lights lining the bridge start to flicker as I pass over the middle and start the descent to the other side, and I whisper to myself, Almost there, almost there, all my energy focusing on getting where I’m going, getting to the one waiting for me. There are maybe five feet between me and the other side of the bridge when I hear someone call my name behind me, mournful and sad, but not combative. Hesitating, I freeze, and I hear my name again, this time closer, the wistful edge a little keener than before.
“Darcy? Why did you do that?”
I turn around, tense, and relax only partially when I see the person walking toward me. “I thought you were…”
A tight little smile. “I know who you thought I was. Why did you have to do that? Why did you have to hurt him?”
I shake my head. “I didn’t mean to. I swear. I never meant—”
“Oh well.” The words are a sigh, little more than breath. “It doesn’t matter now.”
The hand lifts in what I take first for an offer of truce, a handshake like the one that introduced us. I don’t expect it to go for my throat.
I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Let’s back up and start where all the best ghost stories have their roots: in the past.