It has come to my attention that my main character’s lack of motivation and direction came from her lack of job.*
I resisted giving her a job, since she’s an upper middle class Victorian widow with remaining family to support her. The done thing under those circumstances, if you didn’t remarry, was to spend the remainder of your widowy, spinstery days waiting on your father and being shuttled around to different relatives’ houses. Obviously, my imaginary ladyfriend would like to regain her independence, but I’m trying to write something other than “lady defies convention and does action jackson things!!!1!” haha. Not that I have a problem with Victorian lady traveller stories; I love them when they’re done well. It’s just not quite what I’m going for here.
That being said, in my draft’s current incarnation…. zzzzzzz boring snoring.
I needed a slightly less-flamboyant way to get my MC off her ass and pursuing some concrete goals.
So she has reluctantly become involved in her brother’s photography studio down in good ol’ Smoky Victorian London.
Photography! Accessible by women at the time, not necessarily respected by the establishment, therefore not subject to the centuries-old boys’ club mentality of other art forms…
I have found all kinds of ways to tweak the subplot between the brother his business partner, my female MC now has more conflicts and goals, and the medium itself is just full of handy little metaphors for how we see the world and each other.
Oh internets! Oh youtube, in particular! Oh libarary! What a time we have had rolling up our sleeves and digging into some extra research. Wet collodion plates? Lycopodium flash powder? Alcohol-based lacquers plus open flame? Good times.
But wait, there’s more: fun props and business, something concrete to reinforce my MC’s rather interior, wishy washy goals.
Muybridge’s motion experiments! Julia Margaret Cameron’s arty portrait shots! Post-Mortem photography? HELLA.
I’m sure there are bleurgs a-plenty to be waded through before I have a draft fit to show others, but this was just the boost I needed this week.
* Ho HO this has nothing to do with my own lack of job and lack of direction in life. Do. Not. Even.
Happy writing week!