WIP First draft finished!

I was hoping to get what is now the first part of my WIP finished before the end of the year. I’ve just managed it! This is the first draft and it needs smoothing over, but the essentials are there. It was growing too big for a single volume so the story will be in two parts.

The next stage is the best part, with the main elements in place and the story worked outβ€”adding the details that make the bare facts of history read like a real story.

Wishing everyone a very happy start to the new year


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

62 thoughts on “WIP First draft finished!”

  1. Well done Jane, that’s terrific! It is enjoyable, polishing, isn’t it, bringing that rough prose to a finer shine. Though can be a stress too when you know something isn’t quite working but aren’t sure why. Well done. Absolutely brill. I just know things are going to go even better for you in 2019. Looking forward to reading more of your publishing successes

    1. Thank Lynn. The interesting part of this story has been fitting conjecture and a bit of fantasy into the known events, making up characters for historical figures and getting the whole thing (which is more or less true) to sound real. I’m crossing fingers I’m not the only one who likes this particular bit of history πŸ™‚

      1. Ha! Love those details, that’s my problem. I want to know what underwear they wore and how they cared for their teeth! The historian in me coming out πŸ™‚

      2. It’s the details that make it real, in my mind anyway. Having said that, I’ve read some really silly completely inaccurate and anachronistic stuff in so-called historical fiction and the critics just say how wonderfully well-researched it is. You know the kind of thing, the Viking longhouse with an upstairs, glass in the windows (windows at all!). I wonder if it’s worth the bother. If you write it how it was, for many readers it’s unsatisfying because it doesn’t fit their pre-formed image.

      3. Ha! How right you are. It’s like seeing a film set in the Middle Ages with a bright, shiny new castle. It looks wrong but logic dictates all castles were clean and new when first built. It’s a tricky balance, that one between historical accuracy and readability. All you can do is work hard at making it feel right and people will be carried along by the great story

      4. Yes, that is the keyβ€”not actually writing in any anachronisms, but avoiding the kind of details that are going to go against common misconceptions. The role of women is very tricky. Try restricting your noble daughters to what they would have been allowed to do and you’re going to alienate all those readers who insist on their teenage heroines learning swordplay with their brothers, alchemy, astronomy, political strategy etc. I get a bit weary of hearing the argument that it’s a myth that in the ‘olden days’ women were not allowed to ‘do anything’. Then they trot out the two examples they’ve found in 4000 years of history of erudite women scholars and say, there, the proof. If women were allowed to use their talents, what happened to us?

      5. Ah, you’re so right. There are examples of women having influence in society, but it was often in very limited spheres and usually in the background. When I was studying Roman history there was one example given of a wealthy woman in Pompeii to illustrate how influential women could be – but her power lay in donating large sums of money to trade and religious groups so her sons were given high up positions. Power by proxy only. I understand a modern audience doesn’t want to see placid heroines but the reality was that women were second class citizens, owned by their fathers and husbands, used as baby making machines. The exceptions were often wealthy, often widows and definitely rare!

      6. Such a shame as there are interesting stories about women to be told within the historical framework. Really, women had to be cleverer, more cunning to achieve there goals back then. Think of all those medieval queens who wielded power from behind the throne of their menfolk

      7. They did, but ultimately if you weren’t rich and powerful you left no mark at all, and among the rich and powerful, women were not considered worth passing the time of day with, so very very few ever managed to influence anything. Behind the scenes, whispering in the ear, maybe, but that is something no man would ever admit to.

      8. She was a pawn and probably nutty as a fruit cake. AliΓ©nor of Aquitaine was relatively powerful compared with other noblewomen, but Henry had her locked up for most of her life after she separated from him. The Irish had some powerful women, queens, lawmakers, warriors but their histories have tended to be diluted by the monks who wrote them because they didn’t approve of women doing things.

      9. Yes, you’re certainly right about Joan and Eleanor – men had ways of dealing with these mouthy women, didn’t they? Still do if the reactions to some of women in the public eye are anything to go by. Just the other day I saw a report saying one of the lady TV anchors on our regional news programme has had two years of rape threats from one particular ‘fan’ – just for being blonde and smiley and reading the local news.

      10. I blame the Christianisation of Europe. The older social and religious systems weren’t nearly as hard on women as the Christians who were the ones who put the thumb screws on. Before them, women had rights. Not equal, but not far off and in some societies, they had scope to do more or less what their inclinations fitted them for, which is an enormous difference with the disregard and distaste of women shown by the Christian church. All that stuff you describe is what the Church teachesβ€”the visible woman as slut. In earlier societies, rape and disrespect were crimes, not legal fun.

      11. It is very disturbing how many societies – and not just Christian ones – belittle women and treat them like commodities and second class citizens. In the twenty first century, for over half the world’s population to be treated that way by the rest – it’s unspeakably awful

      12. What is so hard to understand it that we aren’t a persecuted minority, we’re HALF the world’s population being persecuted by the other half. Why do we stand for it?

      13. Because we’re raised to think it’s normal? Because for thousands of years society has been formed around ideas of male supremacy and you can’t overcome that in a few generations.

      14. That is true, and the sad fact is that a lot of women, even young women, while paying lip service to equality still believe that it’s perfectly acceptable that they stick to what women are good at and leave the important things to the men folk.

      15. The kind of women who look around my house with their nostrils quivering and I feel like telling them I’d rather have dust mice and a finished novel than the kind of toilet you could eat out of and nothing else.

      16. I can’t imagine spending hours cleaning and polishing, having a spotless house. It gets done once a week and that’s as good as you’ll get from me!

      17. I used to clean a lot more when I had a job and small children. I must have been mad. It’s the guilt complex when all you mix with are mothers who live for clean toilets.

      18. Haha! Oh, yes, true. I remember not wanting other women in my house for fear they’d secretly judge me. And though I’ll still tidy up before having visitors now, I’m less paranoid. Maybe it’s my age πŸ™‚

      19. I used to do the same, hoping they wouldn’t need to use the bathroom or ask to see the bedrooms. We have an anti social dog now to take care of anyone who thinks they might like to look around πŸ™‚

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