Dickens, Victorian Christmas and stuff like that

Had a busy weekend, so I’m just now getting here. This past weekend was a big one for the island, because it was the Victorian Christmas festival weekend downtown. This is a huge deal around here, and people come from all over the state to hang out, dress up in costumes and drink glogg. Or wassail. Or whatever. The costumes are supposed to be Victorian, but since she ruled a really long time, the costume-wearer has a wide variety of choices. Everything from hoopskirts to bustles. Some people wear pirate costumes, which are about 50 years too old for Victoria, but hey–they look cool, so nobody cares. There are also Civil War soldiers, cowboys, frontier floozies, beggar urchins, London bobbies, kilted soldiers and pretty much whatever else anyone might want to wear. Lots and lots of top hats.

The fella’s college had a booth on Ship’s Mechanic Row, so he felt he needed a costume, and went out and rented one. (Though I think he bought the top hat and cane.) But since we left it so late, I decided it would be too hard to find something really “authentic” for me, so I did “Victorian-ish.” I found a Victorian-looking top, and already had a long, tiered denim skirt, so I did a variation on the frontier look, I suppose. If I can get my sewing machine down here, though…maybe next year.

So that’s what we did pretty much all day Saturday. Wandered around all the old buildings downtown and gawked at all the dressed-up people. There were plenty who didn’t dress up, but you’d be amazed just how many did. I would post pictures, but I didn’t take my camera, and the fella wants to download the pictures himself, so who knows when that will happen…

I have made it back out to the beach. It was very warm and sunny Friday, and my knees were whining at all the walking on concrete I’ve made them do lately, so I took them back to walk on the sand again. Tiny little rocks all over everywhere. Lots of the kelp-like seaweed. And some ring-billed gulls have showed up. They seem to be a little more solitary than the local laughing gulls, a little larger too. But the easiest way to tell the difference, since the laughing gulls don’t currently have their black heads, is that the ring-bills have yellow beaks (with a black ring) and legs, and the laughers have black beaks and legs. It will be nice when they turn black-headed again… Make it easier for me. The other local black-headed gulls don’t have black legs, so that’s a help too.

And Monday, we went to the college Christmas concert. The choir is basically a community choir–most of the members are my age or older. I enjoyed their music, though a lot of it was a little esoteric. The other half of the program was the Island Steel Drum Band, which was lots of fun. This is only its second year in existence, but it was totally cool. They ought to perform at the Dickens festival next year, I think… Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree works real well on steel drums…

Plodding away on Time Catch. I’ve done a few POV/scene changes now. Maybe finished a chapter–though I never really know till I get it typed in. Still, I like the story and it seems to be going well, although slowly. I’m working stuff out as I go, which means a lot of stopping and making notes and re-writing when I think of something that will work better than what I originally came up with. It’s the details that can trip you up. I know the general outline of what my hero’s going to be doing, but the specifics keep slowing me down.

I was thinking I’d have this “city boy” dress up like a scruffy street tough, to go snooping around out in the outer sectors of the space empire. He is a lot tougher than he looks, but he’s pretty ignorant of life in the outer sectors, and he’s smart enough to know that. So after I’d already written the scene with him in grubby space-suit clothes, I realized he was indeed smart enough to recognize his ignorance and play it up. So he’s dressing like a company bureaucrat from headquarters who doesn’t want to be in the outer sectors, (with hair dyed red with hot pink streaks) so he’ll at least have the element of surprise on his side if any local tough guys try to rough him up. He’s very good at personal violence. So anyway, I had to write that at least twice today.

But the plot is coming clear, and I ought to be able to write the synopsis pretty soon… I’ve learned a couple of things I didn’t realize as I’ve gotten even a couple of pages in that I think will play a great big part in the story. Not sure how, yet, but I think they will. I’ve established the hero and heroine’s goals. I’ve established the primary conflict between them, and hinted at some internal conflict–or maybe self-conflict. I hope I’ve established enough of the universe that people can follow the story. It’s coming together, I think.

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