Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Details, Details

Details, Details

Post copyright Doris McCraw
hhj spc 3
I realize part of this post contains early European History. It is all part of the process I use to get to the heart of my stories. As I worked to complete my short story for a Medieval Anthology, along with a Western one and a proposal for next years History Symposium, I was having fun with those delightful details. In the midst of preparing this post, the link for a music video came through. Talk about details. So folks take a listen, then read on for some delightful details from history.
I’ll start with the Symposium. My proposal was accepted and I shall be expected to present a detailed story defending my position on the myth of women doctors. I have been spending time wondering how I would cover such a large subject, then a friend gave me an idea for the hook. How the story of one created the myth we now believe to be true of the women doctors in Colorado. It is the true details of her story and that of others that will bring the story of those early women doctors life. Yes, some women doctors lived and worked in large cities, but even those larger cities were not without their dangers. Just because Leadville was one of the largest towns in Colorado in the 1870’s, there were still shootouts, killings and mining accidents. Even Doc Holliday made his home there awhile. Some women were reported to carry a gun when out on a call in the country.
Image result for leadville colorado During its peak, Leadville bragged over 30,000 residents and at one time was slated to be the capital of Colorado.
A Western Romance, ah the possibilities. Of course there was conflict between the man and women. Most of the time, these stories involve young people. But what about the older widow, the man who has been footloose and fancy free. There is a story, whether true or not, of a woman who bought property in Denver, then found out it was a brothel. Since she had invested all her money, she did what any respectable women would do, she became the Madam, and with the money earned sent her daughter to boarding and finishing school. Delightful details like that add a hint of mystery to what could be challenging romance. We will see what my characters decide will work for them in that story.

Eibingen Abbey
Now to a new arena for me, Medieval romance. Yes, I read a few when I was younger, but how was I going to make this one work. Okay, I set it in 1151, during the time Hildegard of Bingen created the first stand alone convent ever. Now I have done a lot of research on this amazing person. Women were seen and not heard during that time, I think not. Hildegard wrote music, books, and traveled and preached, when women were not allowed to do so. She corresponded with popes and kings. If you want to learn more about her, you can start here. you can also read more at:
To add more detail I studied books on the life of people during the 1100’s.  A cookbook was a great read. Everyone eats, so adding food to the story helps to make it real. It is in those details that our narratives come alive, whether fiction or non-fiction. So the next time you’re telling a story, include those details that bring the reader or listener into the world you’re describing. Until next time, happy researching and writing.
Doris McCraw specializes in Colorado and Womens History. She writes fiction under the pen name Angela Raines. Join her on facebook and her Amazon author page.
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“NEVER HAD A CHANCE” , second in the Agate Gulch stories, in the Prairie Rose Publications “A COWBOY CELEBRATION” anthology
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HOME FOR HIS HEART the first in the Agate Gulch stories.
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  1. I can't imagine all the research your foray into medievals will take. I know one thing--it will be fascinating.

    1. Thank you Kathryn. I chose Germany, not many medieval stories take place there. It was fun/fascinating...but you are correct, lots of research.

  2. Hi! This is a great post. First of all, I totally love Leadville, and anything about the foremothers who paved such important inroads for the rest of us. I also love medieval and it is true, some women did find their voice even then.I love that many noblmen trusted their wives so much they left them in charge while off to war.

    1. Tanya, thank you. I think with history we tend to lump things together and that does everyone a disservice. As for Leadville, it is such a great place. Women played such a wonderful part in the building of this world, and I just want to make sure they are not forgotten. If you're ever on the Front Range heading to Leadville, give me a heads up and I'll drop what I'm doing and have a cup of tea with you. Doris