Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Salon: Paris for the Semester

This time last week I had just finished reading my first Historical Fiction saga, Paris, and absolutely loved it!  I entertained the idea of reading another one of Rutherfurd's works, I have both London and New York sitting on my bookshelves, but instead I decided to linger in literary Paris a while longer.  In fact, I think I may spend the entire semester here.

There is good reason for this decision; let me share a bit of background information.  For about four years now I have had an idea for a story that just won't go away.  I have done extensive research on the lives of several Impressionists and the Paris of that time period.  I currently have three Moleskines filled with notes.  I have visited three museums, most notably The Frist in Nashville, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, to view firsthand these famous works of art.  I have collected images of many of these paintings to help me develop characters, settings, and plot ideas.  I have fleshed out the protagonist, antagonist, love interest and mentor.  I know at which point the story begins and how it will end.  What I am missing is a compelling conflict.

I have challenged myself to write this story during NaNoWriMo, which begins November 1st - a little less than three months away.  I have decided that I will try to immerse myself in this time period as much as possible between now and then, in the hopes that my subconscious will work some creative magic.  Many of these books I have already read and reviewed on my other blog:  Dancing for Degas and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler; Luncheon of the Boating Party; Life Stories; and Marie, Dancing... but I plan to re-read them over the next several weeks.  I recently picked up The Painted Girls (by Cathy Marie  Buchanan) from my local library and plan to begin reading it today.

Reading is not the only activity I will pursue while preparing for NaNoWriMo.  I hope to complete several detailed character sketches where I not only know their physical characteristics, but also their most intimate thoughts, secrets, and motivations.  I have many images of 19th century Paris, either digital files on my Pinterst board or as postcards purchased during my 2011 trip. I want to study these pictures and practice writing sensory details of each of these settings.  I want to envision this Parisian time period as vividly as I see present-day Kansas.  While I would relish the idea of re-visiting the Art Institute of Chicago this fall, I may content myself by viewing the few Impressionist paintings at the Nelson-Atkins.

It's rather funny... from the time I was eight years old I have wanted to spend a semester abroad.  It looks like I may finally achieve that dream, albeit in a slightly different manner than I had imagined.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun project -- and a great way to get revved up for NaNoWriMo!

    Joy's Book Blog