Well I am having a breather from my WIP. I have finished another draft and it is currently with a couple of readers (thanks Misha and Kathy).
A bit of time on my hands I have to decide what to work on next.
My main choices are:
- · The third book in my Veiled series. This project is about a third to a half written because I split my second in two.
- · Or, beginning work on my other WIP that is waiting in the wings.
The new WIP is called “Hilda”. I mentioned it a little while ago,
I said then “it is built around the life of a young woman named Hilda born in the late 19th Century. Hilda's story follows her life from her youth in an English village, the start of her working life in service at the local estate, meeting and loving a young soldier during World War I and her life into the mid-20th Century and beyond. My idea is to look at the challenges facing a person through those years and to look at the vast changes that occurred during this period through her eyes.”
I still need to do more research on early 20th century Warwickshire but I couldn’t help myself and began writing a first scene on the train into work this morning.
What do you think?
The scene I wrote this morning
‘Ginnie!’, Hilda tried to ignore her mother’s voice drifting up from below, ‘Ginnie, have you seen that sister of yours?’
‘Which one Mum?’ replied Ginnie’s voice from nearer at hand. Hilda sighed and closed her most secret possession - a leather bound notebook Miss Wilson had given her. A notebook that was filling up all too quickly with tiny characters in her spidery hand. She sighed again and looked around the attic where she had found a moment’s refuge. Low, cramped and dark, but a neat clean space, dry and filled almost to bursting with shelves laden with jars of preserves and ceramic wine jars.
Hilda climbed off the lid of her glory box she had been using as a bench. Popping the end of her pencil stub in her mouth and tucking the book under arm she lifted the box’s heavy cedar lid. With a little effort she slid the book under the linen she was collecting against the eventuality she might one day be married. The book slid on top of the algebra book Miss Wilson had lent her, finally she tucked the pencil stub in next to them.
Her mother’s voice came up the stair again,‘Hilda of course! Dolly is with me!’
‘Her went up the ladder to the attic a while ago.’
‘Hilda!’ her mother’s voice was louder now, directed at her, ‘Are you up there?’
‘You come down here this instant!’
Hilda carefully closed the lid to the chest and cast her eye over the attic again. Her cedar chest was one of three at the near end of the attic. One of three made by her father, a master cabinet maker, one for each of his daughters. Hilda clumped down the ladder to the upper floor of Wharf Cottage. Her elder sister Ginnie looked up from where she was tucking fresh sheets into the corner of one of the beds in the bedroom, ‘What do you do up there all this time?’
Ginnie fourteen, and a full two years older than Hilda took on the older sister’s role, ‘You know it makes Mum cross when you sneak away.’
‘I know.’ Hilda sighed again, ‘I’d better see what she wants.’
Elizabeth Attewell was in her kitchen, a flour covered apron around her ample middle. Dolly, Hilda’s lanky ten year old sister was part way through rolling out dough for pie crust. ‘Well Hilda Attewell, where do you think I have been?’
With a sinking spirit Hilda guessed the answer, ‘Out to the laundry?’
‘Yes my girl, I’ve been out to the laundry, and what do you think I found out there?’
‘Our Wilf?’ Hilda said hopefully.
Elizabeth pursed her lips, ‘I found the copper full of warm water and the fire beneath it gone out. How are we to wash the bed sheets you and Ginnie stripped earlier without hot water?’
‘I’m sorry, Mum only Wilf said he’d watch the fire while I just…’
‘While you just what?’
Hilda felt tears starting to pool in her eyes, there was nothing for it but the truth. ‘Miss Wilson.’
‘What has that woman done now?’
‘She lent me an algebra book at the start of the holidays.’
‘Algebra? What is algebra when it is at home?’
‘Maths, mum hard maths. I’ve been working through it.’ Elizabeth watched as her daughter’s eyes began to shine, ‘I got stuck on a difficult problem, I’ve been thinking about it for days, I just thought of how to work it through.’
It was hard to be angry with such eagerness, but truly the girl was wasting her time, ‘While you were upstairs playing with your numbers your Dad called Wilfred away to help him cut grass for the rabbits. And why do you think a six year old was going to stay put to watch your fire for you?’
Hilda’s excitement puffed out like a blown out candle, the tears came back. ‘I’m sorry Mum, I only meant to be a minute.’
‘I know you love your numbers, but you know what I think about that. You will be going into service next year when you finish your schooling. What blessed use is algebra going to be to a scullery maid?’
Hilda swallowed back the tears, ‘None.’
‘Exactly! Now you listen to me girl, you go and set that fire again. You will stay in that laundry until that water boils and you will begin those sheets, and if they aren’t mangled and on the line before tea you will have nothing but bread!’
She turned to go, ‘And Hilda!’
‘If anything like this happens again you will be taking that blessed book straight back to Miss Wilson!’
Hilda in 1914 aged 16