It’s very early days in the NaNo challenge, to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month, but so far (and fingers crossed for the next twenty-six days) I’m on target. I’m writing about a family’s search for their genealogical roots, but just having lists of names and family trees would be pretty uninteresting so I’m also exploring the lives of the family, and the skeletons they might find when they undertake this research.
As usual with my stories characters expand or deflate as I write, people who were major fade away, and walk-on parts grab the centre stage. So a brother’s fiancée, rather than being an attachment to him, has become a major player, and an annoying wife, has become kinder, and more gentle, and more nuanced.
I suppose I am so familiar with looking at census material and other documents to do with my exploration of my family tree, (and I’m not a real expert) that I don’t always remember what it was like when I first started and how baffling the whole search was… and how frustrating. So I’m trying to put some of that into the story,, as well as things like characters’ name changes over the census returns of the nineteenth century as the enumerator struggles with unfamiliar names and foreign accents. In 1841 when there was the first census, many people would have been illiterate, and not all the enumerators were that able to interpret a strong country or foreign accent. When I was teaching, there were quite a number of students whose parents came from other countries, and had their names registered incorrectly when they were born (in Britain) their parents lack of English led to errors.
So the words flowed well yesterday, I wonder what today will bring! I think maybe the characters will find evidence of their ancestor’s marriage in the 1840’s and a few children arriving before the 1851 census!