Touring the Backlist: LUCY THE GIANT
|The hardcover dust jacket|
That's something I forgot to do early on in this current manuscript-- really feel the world. I had an idea of it, knew what it looked like and just threw it on the page. I was more interested in getting it down than I was in breathing life into it. It's a common problem with my earlier drafts. I am too busy telling the story, rushing from A to Z, to really stop and smell the roses. So I'm smelling the roses now (and dashing around in the new scenes... I promise I'll smell those roses later). I spent a long afternoon in the study carrels Central Library with a stack of books on history, costumes, toymaking and the clockmaker's guild. When in doubt, I say, do some more research. The little details you stumble across give your story depth and a sense of veracity that is difficult to just "make up."
Wandering those shelves, sitting at the long tables with other silent readers, I remembered there is a whole world happening around my little story. It's a fantasy, but it's historical, which means Napoleon and war and the Congress of Vienna and all sorts of things are happening at the same time as my guys are trying to figure out how to open a nut. Which immediately sounds like a writing prompt to me. And it was. I came home, and I wrote. And I'm still writing.
And I learned that from LUCY THE GIANT.
Sadly, Miss Lucy is out of print for the time being. You can probably find her living in the warm dusty arms of a used bookstore somewhere. It's a fun, sad, moving little book about a man-sized girl finding her way in the rough world of Alaskan crabbing. There's a pretty good feast written into that story, and a version of a dress I used to own (or maybe just wished I did). And there's crab. I love crab. And Alaska, which I also love. LUCY is a thank you letter to the Last Frontier State because, while I always knew I wanted to be a writer, it was a trip to Alaska that made me one.