Happy Thanksgiving Week, Everyone!
I have happy news on my revision efforts--this round is complete! Wooohhoo!! I'm excited because this round involved a lot of rewriting. In a way I feel like I have a whole new story! Actually, most of the elements are the same. What's changed is how those elements are depicted. There's more conflict, backstory is woven throughout the novel instead of dumped at the beginning, there's more dialogue, and less telling. I'm pretty excited! I also just finished re-reading and doing heavy line edits, lamenting over all my beautiful adverbs, (trying to) correct my little comma problem, and looking to see if everything works. I think the story is a lot stronger than it was, which makes me REALLY excited! Now I just need to type all the edits in.
It's kind of appropriate that I'm doing all of that right now, because my novel is set in the months of November and December. Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty major events in the story, and not because they are holidays. They just aren't a part of the setting as far as "time", they are catalysts for major plot points.
So many things go into holidays, ya know? There are traditions, familial cultural habits, our national habits, and then the individual events in our lives. For our characters, it gives us a lot of room to play. There's more than just a gathering and a meal going on; relationships can grow, change, and fracture, characters can develop, and plots can take off. They can be scenes of warmth, conflict, celebration, grief--or some combination thereof. Holidays are so rich for stories simply because their options are unlimited. One side comment, one slip on a wet floor, one missed place setting and Armageddon can erupt.
I love chaos--just not in my real life. It's fun to write though! ::laughs maniacally:: Ha!
Have you ever written a holiday in your story? Did you play with it? What was your favorite Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear your stories!
My favorite Thanksgiving was in 2007. I was in Swaziland, Africa and dreading the day because I knew I'd miss my family and America a lot. Before that, I'd only been overseas on July 4th, so it was my first major holiday away. But we had a huge surprise planned for our team. It's a long story, but we ended up spending the weekend in South Africa. A generous--and wealthy--family of one of my students flew in and threw a feast for my team--and sixty other people!! Most were Americans, but there were South Africans and Swazis in attendance as well. This, of course, was their first Thanksgiving, since it's not an African holiday. I was clean, actually straightened my hair and wore makeup for the first time in months (I don't wear it normally, so it felt really weird wearing it on the field!), wearing a brand new dress purchased just for the occasion.
No one on my team knew until we pulled up at the restaurant. The daughter got the surprise of her life when her father walked out! I remember sitting at the table with my rock star team, eating traditional Thanksgiving food African style, catching the eyes of my best friends across the tent, and signing, "I love you". That night we even went to a mall for a few hours, so the experience was complete!
Below are some pictures of that event!
This is the best picture I have of our feast. I was too busy eating to want to take pictures. :0) We're trying to figure out how to carve the turkey at the moment. These turkeys actually had to be flown in and the restaurant staff had to learn how to make them because this isn't a typical meal there.
We were just happy to have meat--especially the guys!
Here I am with two friends. I think I was most excited about the mashed potatoes. I LOVE potatoes!
My Swazi brother, Musa, in traditional Swazi dress. It was a huge honor for him to wear that--this is not what Swazis wear in everyday life. They dress just like us normally.
See y'all Wednesday!
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