@Archaeolibrary, @Bethb19861, @CarolNickles,
In the Spring of 1881, indigent seamstress Ginny Dahlke arrives in one of the earliest Polish American settlements-Parisville, Michigan. Deemed charmless and awkward by her mean-spirited sister-in-law, Ginny disparages her chance of securing love. But sought-after widowed farmer Peter Nickles is enamored by Ginny's perseverance, her pioneer spirit and, her inclusive acceptance of the indigenous peoples of Michigan. The seductiveness of a buxom heiress, a twisted story of an old-country betrothal, and the largest natural disaster in Michigan's history-The Great Thumb Fire of September 5, 1881, challenge their fledgling attraction and ultimate committal.
Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
1. Include suspense on every page. Suspense can be as tiny as a cough, a scratching noise, a hair out of place, a wrong turn, or a thirst. Suspense can be as big as the lunge of a panther, a fire, a spider the size of a hand, or a vengeful janitor.
2. When writing dialogue, avoid the word said and all its benign cousins (exclaimed, declared, stated, replied, etc.) Get into the habit of using an action dialog tag instead. Since you need to identify the speaker, why not describe the action of the speaker? Example: “I cut my finger,” Mary said. “I cut my finger.” Mary thrust her hand in the air and collapsed.
3. At the beginning of every setting change, give the reader a sense of temperature change and time change. Example: Tom shivered as he drew closer to the calendar hanging on a thin string between the stovepipe and the oil-spotted wallpaper. Only two days have passed. It feels like a lifetime.
4. Be specific. Example: The bird hopped to the next branch. The pink-faced vulture extended his menacing clawed feet and grasped the white pine limb.
5. Study the literary mechanism of point of view (POV). Basically, everything needs to be shown through the senses of the POV character. Example: Lilly hid in the closet. The familiar scents of Mother’s gardenia cologne permeated the air. Example of what would not work. Lilly hid in the closet. Outside, the sun rose and wakened the morning glories. Explanation: Lilly is hiding in the closet. She cannot see the action of the sun.
6. Self-edit by reading your work aloud. I use my software to help. By choosing Review/Read Aloud/Speech in Word, and bumping up the size of the text, I follow along and listen.
7. Be aware of how many times you use a particular word. Again, your software can help. In Word, select Home, then Find, then enter the word in question. This will identify where and when you used the word. You may want to make changes. Use your Thesaurus.
8. Artists keep sketchbooks. Writers keep character notebooks. As I’m traveling, I record physical descriptions and overheard dialogue and dialect of strangers for future stories.
9. Stay curious. How many weeks does it take for a field of alfalfa to mature? Why is coffee more popular in Seattle? When was dynamite invented? Who are popular fashion designers today?
10. Incorporate sensory items on every page—and not just visual. Examples: the guttural screech of a military-trained falcon, the sweet aroma of apples baking in the campfire, the churning waves underneath, the velvety softness of a baby’s toes, the sour crunch of undercooked cabbage.
Think of creativity as a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
So engage creativity in as many life endeavors as possible. You will build your muscles, and flex them into champion writing.
4 out of 5 (very good)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Ginny has gone to live with her brother and his wife, she is moving from the city to the countryside. Her life is going to be completely turned upside down - will she be able to get used to it? Her sister-in-law doubts very much that Ginny will ever find herself a husband! Ginny is determined to do whatever she can to become useful, and then the fires came.
This is an intriguing story that has some facts about the land and the Polish settlers and how everybody just simply got on with the ways of life.
Ginny's discomfort is completely understandable she isn't used to any of the situations she's been plunged into but she adapts well.
Some of the book is heart-breaking and you feel those emotions whirling through you.
When I first started reading this book I was rather apprehensive as to whether I would enjoy it or not, I'm glad I pursued and finished it otherwise I would have missed out on a beautiful tale.
A recommended read
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Carol Nickles is the sixth generation of a German textile aficionado family. In 1881, her great-great-great-grandfather founded Yale Woolen Mill—the longest-lasting of Michigan’s once twenty-nine woolen mills. Carol earned a Master’s degree in Historic Clothing & Textiles at Michigan State University. Her thesis is a narrative of the Yale Woolen Mill. She held faculty positions at both Utah and Michigan State universities. She lives in West Michigan and enjoys spinning a tale, weaving a story, and threading a luring hook.
Tik Tok: @authornickles