1. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Order of operations

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BFGuru, Oct 28, 2013.

    Hi all! Long time no see!

    Was in school, now had to drop again because of child care issues. In middle of divorce right now and was absolutely down trodden when I had to drop out of school as finishing my education was my ticket to sustaining me and the children sans husband.

    I was depressed for quite some time, but finally decided to start writing again. It started with a bunch of Fringe fan fiction, and moved on to, not my original story I want to work on, but another I started working on in my mind. Write what you know I thought, and opted for a love story revolving around a terminal illness. I can do medical well. My first/last chapter was (I felt) beautiful...and then I backed up to tell the story of my main characters, and thought, shoot, these people were born in the 30's and lived through major wars and now...now I'm doing homework. There's a lot of research involved. I can find the history of the wars easily, but dredging through the emotions of families at war in these time frames. I am at a loss at where to go from here. And now I'm wondering...do I write and research as I go? Or do I research then write? And any ideas for where I could go for interviews to find out how these people FELT during these times. I would love to actually talk to people who were American children during WW2 and how it felt when their dads were drafted...

    Also having a tough time finding out what carreers would have made wealthy men that avoided the draft. It's all rather confusing, but I'm halfway through chapter 3...unless I make it a stand alone shorter chapter.

    But thought I'd say hello as I try to force myself to work a little every day.
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do my research as I'm writing, mainly because I don't want to have to go back after the research and rewrite what I get wrong.

    As to the personal experiences, that's going to be tough. Not many people around who were old enough to really remember. I would suggest looking for WWII memoirs - might be some websites for those but more likely there will be books available.
     
  3. BFGuru
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    Looking. Going to talk to my grandmother as well. She is in her 80's and her husband 90's...her father was a deadbeat and left them in the middle of the depression so there was no worrying if he were dead going on. Her husband may remember that stress. My main protagonist has a father drafted into World War 2. His friend has a dead beat missing father...which reminds me...Grandma can definitely help with those emotions!
     
  4. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hello.

    I like your devotion to character's feelings and I agree with Shadowwalker, could be tough finding someone with personal experience. But as he suggested, you could look up to some memoirs. I don't know exactly what you want, but Anne Frank diary might help, if you haven't read it already.
     
  5. BFGuru
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    Read Anne Frank years ago. Contemplating auditioning for role of her mother in a local production this/next year (auditions this year, performances next).

    I'm really pleased with the ending of the war announcement scene I just wrote. I'm trying to stay devoted to only two points of view instead of 3rd person omniscient. It makes it difficult writing an "adult" book when the main characters are still youngsters and processing very adult things, but I worked it as a radio announcement, and it got the history out, while the interjections of the characters allowed them to process it.

    It's a non named town. I'd like it to really be anywhere in the U.S. that it could be anyone's town. However, my main adults all seem to have a southern drawl in my head LOL.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do your research whenever you need to... in your case, beforehand, in addtion to while writing, as things come up in the story that you need to learn about...

    i was 7 on v-e day, so feel free to email me for specific info on living in that era...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
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  7. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Thanks mamma, are you American? I seem to find plenty of information on life of kids in London during the war, which was vastly different than a kid in America during the war. No air raids for starts LOL.
     
  8. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, a child of WWII could be just about anyone in their 70s or 80s. With the war ending in '45, there were lots of kids growing up with the confusion of seeing older family members crying and Daddy going away and not coming back. And it shouldn't be too hard to find a few old vets and their families through the nearest VFW post.
    Good Luck.
     
  9. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, though American kids were lucky enough not to be subjected to actual air raids. The drills went on all across America. In the '50s and '60s schools had tornado drills and "If you see a flash in the sky, duck and cover" nuclear war paranoia. In the early to mid '40s, it was air raid drills. So there was some sense of terror in the everyday lives of kids back then, too.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My dad was 14 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He worked at a local AAF base through high school. When he tried to enlist (I think he was 17 or 18), he was rejected for reasons that were never made clear to me. He left Whitehall Street, went into a local bar and said, "I just got accepted!" Everyone bought him drinks. He died an alcoholic just shy of his 42nd birthday.

    I tell this because it is such a stark contrast to the Vietnam War era. When I was 19, my number in the draft lottery was 57, and it was widely believed that anyone up to #75 would go (I did get called for my pre-induction physical, but that's another story), and there was no shortage of people offering unsolicited advice as to how to "get out of the draft". Lots of folks told me to go to Canada.

    From everything I have read, anyone who didn't want to go in WW2, unless they were claiming Conscientious Objector, kept quiet about it. There was an incredible stigma attached to not going, and it permeated everything. There were lots of men who wanted to stay out of the army, and they enlisted in other services, mostly the navy, although chances for survival there weren't markedly better. For someone who was wealthy and wanted to stay out, they could try to work for a defense contractor, and I suppose if they were wealthy enough, that could be arranged. There were certain other exempt professions.

    This is, apparently, an area of emerging scholarship. Titles I have seen (but can't vouch for) include Allan Winkler's Home Front, USA and Emily Yellin's Our Mother's War. An excellent history of the years immediately preceding Pearl Harbor that I can definitely recommend is Richard W. Ketchum's The Borrowed Years.

    Good luck on all fronts.
     
  11. BFGuru
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    This is great stuff guys! I'm starting to feel like I should have placed this in Research! LOL

    I'm wondering about physicians, and if they would be permitted to stay state side. Also by the 40's was it cash/insurance by then giving doctors the upper hand financially yet? I know in the early part of the century they treated people for canned goods at times. However, I am trying to flesh out the children and their families and there always has to be a princess type...well, maybe not always, but this girl's interactions with the rest of the characters could be explained by a wealthy father.
     
  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    During the war, there were strict limits on wages, so the only way employers were able to compete for workers (in an economy in which much of the traditional workforce was in uniform) was by offering better benefits. This, along with the concept of group insurance, with risks calculated based on an entire group rather than individuals, gave rise to employment-based health insurance. It was the availability of group health insurance that triggered the rise in income levels among doctors, but even after the war, doctors were hardly wealthy.
     
  13. BFGuru
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    That's what I was thinking. So far this little rich brat has her father there (at least in my mind). I'm not committed to that though. I just need to think of an occupation that would enable her to not wear hand me downs and patched clothes. Something that would make the girls flock to see her latest thing while secretly hating her. Why can she purchase clothes when the other kids in town can't? I even invented some rich councilman uncle who sends her crap, but there is a lavish confirmation party scene that must be funded somehow in 1945. Therein lies my problem...where does this money come from?
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, i'm american... we had rationing coupons for groceries and clothing, etc. and my mom had a 'victory garden'... i still recall vividly the day we heard a clamor out in the street and it was the neighbors banging pots and pans in celebration of V-E day that had just been announced on the radio...
     
  15. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I'd like to echo this. I'm finding more and more value in thorough research. I'm also starting to realize there are things one will have to research, though one may not know so until some point down the line. That's part of the fun of writing for me though; it's a continual learning process.
     
  16. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    The money comes from war contracts.

    There were many, many industries that made everything from tanks, to guns, to boots, etc. You can pick darn near anything you can think of that would classify as "war materiel" and find someone who suddenly made it big. Machined parts, instruments, you name it.
     
  17. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    When you think you've researched and understand people's situations in WW II, read The Good War by Studs Terkel. It is a collection of interviews with people in the military and at home, and absolutely every one of them saw it differently.
     
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  18. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    O.k. Mamma, I will e-mail you. Probably tomorrow. Just took melatonin and hoping to sleep before 5 a.m. tonight. :)
     
  19. mammamaia
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    good morning, bfg!... hope you had a good sleep... will be happy to hear from you...
     
  20. BFGuru
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    It was a lovely sleep, however I still ended up passed out until noon. Night shift is slowly (or not so slowly) killing me. O.k. off to formulate an e-mail. :)
     
  21. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Another book you may want to try is Helen Bryan's War Brides. To be fair, it could've used a better editor and it has it's problems SP&G wise, but it's a very thorough account of what life was like then. And while it doesn't take place in America, one of the brides is a New Orleans transplant so you still get a view, even if limited in some ways. If you have Amazon Prime you can borrow it for free, which is what I did, and despite it's problems I really do think it was worth it.
     
  22. BFGuru
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    Thanks! I'll look into it!
     

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