Friday, March 1, 2024

Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Writing a Novel


A couple of years ago, my insurance company offered a free online class called “Me and The Can Write a Romance Novel” Although I have never written in the romance genre, I thought, “Why not, it is a free class.” I tinkered with it for some time and recently got serious about it.

I am writing a semi-romance story using the Civil War in Southwest Missouri as background, as I have always been interested in the history of the area. None of my family lived in McDonald County during the war, but one great-grandfather was stationed at near Maysville, AR, and later settled in Pineville. One of my great-grandmothers did butcher a hog and hide it under a pile of laundry. Follows is a fictional scene of what happened.

      Bonnie Faye Doolittle leaned over a steaming black iron cauldron resting on a welded ring above a roaring fire. After much tugging with the help of a sturdy broomstick, she extracted a bedsheet from the seething water.

      The sheet would serve as a screen to hide the dead pig currently residing under a nearby pile of dirty laundry, and later, when drier, the sheet would help in handling the slippery beast and conceal it during transportation to a safer place. Despite the chilly, just-before-dawn, weather, sweat dripped from her face and soaked her clothing. She swiped a wisp of dark red hair, now sprinkled with gray from the recent trauma of war, from her forehead and hooked it behind her ear. She was taller and stronger than most women she knew, but her formerly robust body was thinned by short rations since the war began. She had a pretty face with creamy white skin, large green eyes, and a ready smile that showed even white teeth. Her strength and good health gave her some advantage in being responsible for caring for all the necessary farm chores that fell to her since the war began. after all the men were gone.

      Times were brutal and if a male of military age was found, soldiers or bushwhackers were inclined to shoot first and ask later. Men who were not in a group were wise to stay hidden. Bonnie Fay’s adult male family members chose to serve in the Southern army, which reflected their loyalties – this area was almost evenly divided between Union and Rebel causes. Even brothers differed in their opinions which divided some families painfully.

      The sun was just peeking over Pea Vine Ridge. She had to hurry. The war had been going on for 6 months and its impact on southwest Missouri had been devastating. Seemed like every soldier on each side had marched through the area and bushwhackers could strike out of the blue wreaking havoc and death.

      A short time later, she heard volleys of gunfire that were closer than usual. It seemed to come from the far side of Pea Vine Ridge. She was terrified.

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Stay tuned for future stories. If you find this interesting, let me know.

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