When the kitchen heats up, or any of my non-air-conditioned rooms in the cottage, it’s time to take advantage of free AC and free WiFi and head to the public library. One issue I didn’t consider when I started this new hobby of writing is the added hours I’m sitting on my ass. At least during the summer and fall I can strap on the bike helmet and pedal the 3 mile trip to my local library. Not sure it’s making a difference yet since summer also means trips to Four Seas Homemade Ice Cream… mocha chip “diet sized” sundae please…
My momentum writing Eliza’s story continues as I’ve stumbled upon a new idea to head toward the ending. At this point, I think I’m only a couple of chapters away from the finish line for the first draft. My brother has returned several more edited chapters. Along with my own first pass of editing the final chapters and I’ve got my work cut out for me for the next couple of months.
I did have my first experience with on-the-spot editing when I attended a “practice pitch” event with the Cape Cod Writers’ Group a couple of weeks ago. I requested more information on what to prepare and was told 2-4 minutes to present to the group and then I would receive feedback. Think of your “pitch” to an agent to tell your story as succinctly as possible. The event fell on the day I was flying home from Minneapolis so I spent both legs of my flight writing, editing, and practicing to get down to a 3-minute read:
At the dawn of a new century, a New Woman ideal emerges bringing aspirations for educated, independent, career women who will resist society expectations. Eliza Edwards is a woman of her times, and beyond her time.
Eliza Edwards abandons her mother’s hopes she will follow a traditional path as a debutante at 18, marriage and a privileged society life and instead chooses to enter a woman’s medical college. Over the next fifty years, from 1897 to 1947, Eliza embraces her own independence to define a new generation of women.
Exposing the exceptional world of women in medicine during the first half of the 1900s, and similar to the Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Call the Midwife series, MY NOVEL explores the contributions and care which woman doctors provided at a time when only 5% of medical professionals were women.
Her life and choices as a doctor, wife and mother are also affected and shaped by the tumultuous global events which occur during this time period as she moves from Philadelphia to Newport to Boston. From the maternity wards for immigrant women in Philadelphia, to the barracks at Camp Devens under siege by the Spanish influenza, to advocating for women’s access to safe and legal birth control to the care of mentally disabled children, Eliza faces workplace challenges and triumphs as well as personal love and heartbreak.
Throughout her journey, Eliza leans on and learns from the women who surround her and give her the courage and fortitude to take her next step. Maiden aunts show her there can be more to life than a society debutante. Whether they volunteer for a Civil War veterans’ home, serve as one of the first court stenographers, teach painting at a settlement house, or assist eager students in the library of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, each one guides Eliza toward finding her own self-definition of becoming an independent woman.
Likewise, Eliza is forever connected through a sisterly bond with her classmates at medical school. Together they toil through four years of classes, labs, exams and practical practice. With love and support, they sustain each other from across the Atlantic and the hospital wards of WWI France to a medical partnership in the back side of Boston during the Depression. They learn and apply how to bring a sense of womanly sympathy to the rigors of science.
MY NOVEL celebrates the ties of women’s friendships which transcend history and reflects on the progress achieved by women to define a new generation for the twentieth century.
I arrived at the event where I’m told the pitch needs to be one minute, and little did I know when I “signed in” that I would be the first one to present in front of 30 people.
On the spot editing indeed:
Rejecting her mother’s expectation of following a traditional path to become a debutante at 18, marry and enter a privileged society life, Eliza Edwards instead chooses to enter the first woman’s medical college in 1897 Philadelphia. Over the next fifty years, she embraces her own independence to cultivate and define a new generation of women.
The tumultuous global events which occur over these 50 years affect Eliza’s life choices as a doctor, wife and mother. From the maternity wards for immigrant women in Philadelphia, to the barracks at Massachusetts’ Camp Devens sieged by the Spanish influenza epidemic, to advocating for women’s access to safe and legal birth control to the sympathetic care of mentally disabled children, Eliza faces workplace challenges and triumphs as well as personal love and heartbreak.
Throughout her journey, Eliza leans on and learns from the women who surround her and give her the courage and fortitude to take her next step. She becomes a doctor as an enlightened century begins. Through careful application of their lessons and practice, Eliza and her classmates mold their learning into the hopes for a tomorrow where medicine would be considered not only a science, but also an art form, bringing forward a sense of dedication and sympathy by all physicians to all patients.
MY NOVEL celebrates the ties of women’s friendships which transcend history and reflects on the progress achieved by women to strive for more and achieve more.
The good news is the pitch was well received with constructive feedback for improvement. Even better, I met a woman who is also writing about the same time period and she said she’d love to read my book, “it sounds really interesting”. And lo and behold, I find out we share the same library where she leads a weekly yoga class that fits with my schedule. Bonus score – books and downward dog. A perfect combination.
#amwriting #amediting #writinglife #amresearching #historicalfiction