20,000 and counting

I just broke 20,000 words on Wings of Song! I've been planning on it being somewhere between 40-50,000 words, so I am either already halfway there or nearly so. I'm so pleased!

It's changed enormously from Meggie of Green Gables. The main character is now named Julie, and in personality she's much more like a younger Gwen than Meggie. I've given her the three siblings, like Gwen, too - Jamie, Maisie, and Nicky. AND a living mother. No more twins, no more dead parent - I'm trying to move away from MG cliches.

She's half Mexican-American (her maternal great-grandparents moved from Mexico to California in the 1800s) and half Scottish-Canadian (her father's many-times-great-grandparents came to Canada from Scotland), and it's been interesting having a main character of an ethnicity different from my own, without making it a book about being Hispanic in the 1930s - because that is definitely not the point, just as the Depression is present but not the point of the story. It's a juggling act, but so far I think I'm keeping all the balls in the air.

Peter, Bran, and Polly are still there - I couldn't do away with them. And Peter and Julie are friends much as Peter and Meggie were, though I'm trusting it's a bit more realistic given the age gap now than it was before.

Johnny will be showing up, too - he's actually making his appearance in the chapter I'm writing now. I'm trying to tone down the melodrama with him, too, without losing much of his personality.

It's been so much fun combining the two stories and from there coming up with something of the flavor of each, but a new story all its own.

I still haven't decided on Will or Tryg for Julie's eventual suitor (or Oliver or Hawk for the rejected one, for that matter) - but those are questions for later stories. For right now, I'm just having a blast writing a wholly MG story.

Cathy, how is your new Bertha story coming? Adrienne, I STILL haven't seen Frozen, so I haven't been following your Frozen fic, but if I ever do see the movie, I'm planning on reading your fic right after.

Adapting fanfics

I know Louise is doing it and I haven't been having any luck lately with my other writing so I thought I would try it: I am currently adapting my Bertha story into an original three-part series! It's flowing a lot more easily than I ever thought it would, and I'm having a lot of fun with it. Louise, do you mind me borrowing the idea?

I'm going to set the books on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the mid-1930s through WWII. The Outer Banks were actually very important in the war (see Torpedo Junction) and I've spent a lot of time there so it seemed like a good place to set the reboot. The basic premise is this: Bertha is now Ruby Lee Daly, who lives at the village lighthouse with her father, who is the lighthouse keeper. The first half of the planned first book explores her life in the small fishing village and her writing, which she does in the journal in which she writes her thoughts. Jordan Gray (I'm keeping the name) comes in when he nearly drowns in a squall and Ruby spots him and thus saves him. They start writing and continue writing as Ruby goes away from home for school and then as he goes overseas during WWII. Eventually he takes the role of Ruby's journal and she writes her thoughts to him as things around her change.

A lot is different about this story (Ruby has less of a family -- it's just her and her father and the other lighthouse staff) but I hope a lot will be the same, too. I like the idea of friends writing to each other without ever having seen each other, being connected without ever having met, and then falling in love through letters.

So far I have about 10,000 words of the first book and Jordan hasn't even made it onto the scene so it's early days but I am excited and wanted to share with you ladies. :)

Louise, how is Winds of Song going? Adrienne, I am loving your Frozen fix and need to catch up on the latest chapters and review properly!


So far, the absolute hardest thing I've found about adapting an LMM fanfic to an original novel is NOT removing all LMM references.

It's making sure the story isn't too treacly.

I've been working on adapting Meggie of Green Gables for months now, and it is not going as swimmingly as I expected. I was glancing over some of the chapters just the other day, and wincing. "What a dear little place," Peter says at one point of [not] Lavender Lodge.

This is the 1930s, and Peter is 18 years old. If an 18 year old boy in a small farming village really talked like that, in the 1930s, he would be so beat up by all the other boys.

On the other hand, I don't want to turn it all gritty and dark and bleak. I want to keep the spirit of hopefulness and fun and light, without turning it into a Pollyanna book.

If anyone has any books along the lines of James Herriot, Miss Read, DE Stevenson, etc, to recommend, please let me know! I could use some more examples of light-but-real historical novels for my own reading, to put me in the proper mindset.

Inspiration Board

I've started a Pinterest "inspiration" board for the new Meggie story (working title, hopefully the final title: Wings of Song). Right now it's just filling up with actors, but I do have a few other links in there as well. I've never done this for any other story (at least not this specifically, because most of my other writing boards are geared more toward research), and it is FUN. Definitely doing its job to inspire me!

In other news, it is HARD finding information about life along the St Lawrence River any time after Jacques Cartier. Especially during the Depression. For the US side, most info is centered more toward either NYC or the Midwest, and for Canada, it seems more focused out west.

Thankfully, I have my grandfather's memoir of growing up in the Thousand Islands region in that era - he was born in 1925, the same year I have Meggie and Matty being born. It's not thick with details, but it does give a vivid image of what everyday life was like for farmers then and there. And I'll keep looking for other resources as well.

Cathy, have you thought any more about adapting some of your fanfic? It would be so fun to think someone else was going along this journey with me! And anyone else getting their creative juices flowing from this enterprise? We could make it a whole Tangled Web project!

(Oh, also - I have Helen Mirren picked as the inspiration for Grandmother Linwood, the Anne alter-ego. But I'm stuck for Gilbert's doppelganger. Any suggestions?)

Help Me Name ...

... a house!

Many of you know that I plan to rewrite my Meggie of Green Gables series, take away all the LMM references, and publish them as original novels. I have a fresh setting ... the Canadian side of the Thousand Islands (my dad's family is from Clayton, along the St Lawrence on the American side, so I have family roots in that area, and it's also a whole lot closer and more accessible for me to visit than PEI, to get a feel for the setting). I have fresh names for the Blythes (and also eliminated some of the periphery characters ... weep, weep!). I've even already planned to split Weeping May Tarry into two books, since it stands right now at over 100,000 words and still feels rushed in parts. The plots of all the books will stay mostly the same, since they are not reliant on Anne at all, and I've already made notes on where they will need adapting.

What I don't have? A name for the new "Green Gables"!

It needs to be something a little old-fashioned, definitely comfortable and homey feeling, but not cheesy or trite or eye-rolling-inducing. That's not too much to ask, right?

Unfortunately, I'm almost as bad at coming up with house names as I am with book titles - which is to say, really bad. So any suggestions from my fellow LMM fans would be so helpful!

Need added incentive? If I pick your suggestion, I'll name a character in the first book for you!

And ... go!

Alice: Chapter 2: Love Happens

Chapter 2:

When Alice had been back at Ingleside for a week, it was as though she had never been away. The household adjusted itself to her rhythms gratefully – things had a tendency to seem stale and a bit lackluster whenever she was away. Every morning she rose early and donned a crisp white shirt and the trousers that made her grandfather look slightly disapprovingly at her, tucked her blueprint case under her arm, and set off for White Sands in the little red coupe that had been a graduation present to herself. Every evening, she came home full of stories about the building site, the work going on at the new hotel, the plans she had for the cunning little series of windows in the main dining room, each shaped like a sand-dollar, with grilles forming the star-shaped pattern in the middle. She sang while she set the table for supper, and after the dishes had been cleared and were drying on the drainboard, she joined her grandparents on the verandah. Once these evenings had been devoted to friendly gossip, but now the radio, pulled up to the window, captivated them all with war news.

Alice hugged her slim knees to her chest and listened to the wash of familiar names and places of her youth – mourned the fates of the cities she had visited with her grandfather – felt the torment in the land of her birth and childhood. She thought often of her parents those nights, as she heard fragments of angry speeches in German and remembered half-forgotten words and phrases in her native tongue. It was strange to think that without the first war, she herself would never have come to exist. What monumental changes would be brought into her life if it all happened over again?

Just as his mother had predicted, Gilbert Ford went overseas in August. The clan had a send-off for him in Rainbow Valley on the night before he left. Rilla Ford bore the parting bravely, but after the train had turned the bend and disappeared from sight of the Glen St. Mary station, she crumpled into a little heap against her husband’s chest. Back at the House of Dreams, she took to her bed, wan and white with the strain of it all, and did not leave it for many days.

Alice went up to visit her one perfect afternoon – so perfect that it’s perfection hurt. She was shocked to find her young, girlish aunt looking suddenly gaunt and old. Rilla sat up from her pillows to clasp Alice’s callused and ink-stained hand with her own elegantly manicured one. There was a desperate sort of fever in her eyes.

“Joy – you can tell me if he’ll come back – can’t you? You have – presentiments – as Walter did. I know you do. Can’t you look – look somehow – and tell me: Will my boy come back to me?”

Alice squeezed her cold fingertips, her heart breaking. “Oh, Aunt Rilla – it doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid. I wish it did – but it doesn’t. And besides – I haven’t had a ‘vision’ in years. I think I’ve grown out of the habit of it. But I know Gilbert will come back – I know he’ll be fine – I know it, deep in my heart.”

Rilla looked at the face of the girl who was her beloved Walter’s daughter. Walter – Walter! What his loss had done to her – done to them all! And how his eyes were pleading with her in Alice’s face. Would she forget the old vow she had made in Rainbow Valley, all those years ago? With a great effort, she regained a little of her composure and squeezed Alice’s hand back – weakly – but it was all the strength she could manage in the moment.

“Yes,” she said, making an effort to keep her voice even around the lump in her throat. “I’m being quite silly. Of course – of course you can’t know. None of us can. We can only try to ‘keep the faith’ to the best of our abilities. I’m sorry, Alice, darling. You are – a dear – to come and sit with me. It helps – it helps more than you’d think.”

Something else that helped was Jims Anderson’s presence at the House of Dreams. His trial over, he had taken a leave of absence from his firm, and come to spend a whole three weeks with his ‘Mother Rilla.’ In town, he might be James K. Anderson, rising star of one of the province’s premier law firms – but in the Glen he was again the country boy he had been in his youth. He laid off his tailored suits for swim trunks, and within days, his skin was tanned, and his golden hair was lightened by the sun. His movements seemed loose and easy and his laugh was infectious. Slowly but surely, the tight lines of worry around Rilla’s dented-lipped mouth began to ease away.

Alice was also glad for his presence. It was sweet to be back home, but she had been feeling on the verge of loneliness until Jims arrived. Aunt Di and Uncle Paul and Charlie were still in Boston – Walt was away at an artist’s colony for a month. When he was home, there was a shield of pensiveness around him that Alice knew she must not try to penetrate. Cissy was doing a course in emergency nursing at the hospital in Bright River, and they worked her so hard when she was there that on the weekends she was a yawning mess, when she wasn’t curled up somewhere, catching up on sleep. With Jims around, the pale blue that had threatened to envelope Alice dissipated entirely. A crack opened and widened, and sunlight poured in.

He and Alice took long rambles in the evenings after she returned from White Sands for the day. In matching dungarees, they would pack a hamper with a supper of sandwiches and lemonade and grab their fishing poles, and cycle to the Glen Pond. Or they would hike to the top of the Harbor Light and watch the sun dip down into the Gulf. Or else wend their way down Rainbow Valley, and spend the gloaming hour sprawled in the whispering caraway at the Old Bailey House, talking, as the last of the day glinted off of the old wavery-glassed windows.  

And in those times together, there might not be a war at all. For they never talked of it, Alice and Jims. There was enough of that in the other hours of the day. Instead, they discussed books – and music – and films, and which were their favorites. Jims had seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington five times, and enjoyed it more and more each time. Alice was addicted to the Thin Man movies, and especially admired the snappy Myrna Loy. Jims had not seen Another Thin Man yet – and so one night they drove into the Glen in Alice’s coupe, with the top down, and saw it at Flagg’s cinema.

Jims told her tidbits about the cases he was working on, and Alice listened eagerly. When he spoke of his work, his brown eyes grew large and his voice impassioned, and Alice knew that the war-baby of years past had finally ‘made something’ of himself, as he always vowed he would. When Jims had talked himself out, Alice told him of the plans for the new hotel – and the plans she had for it, if only she was allowed to make all of the decisions herself.

“A hotel should feel homey – not cold and impersonal. How much you enjoy a place is just as much a function of how you feel when you’re there as what you do when you’re there. I’d like to put in a lot of nooks and crannies – little window seats and alcoves, stocked with books and cushions, where you can lose yourself in an hour of looking out at the sea. But the owners want it as grand as they can get it – marble this and gold-plated that. Ah, well!”

“You should build your own hotel, someday,” Jims said, stretching his long legs out in front of him and leaning back against the Bailey House stoop to look up at the violet-colored clouds scuttling by overhead.

“I think this might be my last one,” Alice admitted. “You see – a hotel isn’t a home, Jims, no matter how homey it might be. I’d much rather put my efforts into designing a place that will hold memories – not transient ones, but a lifetime’s worth. Perhaps when this project is over, I’ll seek one out.”

“I’d like to have you design a house for me, someday,” Jims said. “I never had one of my own, and I’d like to. I lived at Ingleside on charity – they loved me, yes, but it was charity all the same. And dad’s cottage was never a home for me. Though I love the House of Dreams, it will never be mine, not the way it is Gil’s and Jack’s and Oliver’s.” His strong voice betrayed him a bit when he finished, “I’d like to have a home of my own – someday.”

Alice covered his brown paw with her slim hand. “I will build you a grand home, someday, Jims – and then I’ll build myself one, exactly one smidge grander.”

Jims grinned and reached over to yank her pony-tail – and let his hand linger on the small of her back for just a moment longer.

And so in this way, the summer passed away into fall.


In September, Persis Ford married Shirley Blythe in the garden of the House of Dreams, where her parents had plighted their troth almost fifty years before. The whole thing was gotten together rather quickly (before Persis had a chance to change her mind, Aunt Di said, a bit cuttingly), but the general air of thought regarding the marriage was that it had been a long time coming.

Alice and Cissy were Persis’ bridesmaids, but instead of wearing matching colors, Persis insisted they pick their own gowns. She had the foresight to know that this might be the last new dress the girls’ had for the duration of the war, and wanted them to have something of their choosing. So it came to pass that Cissy outfitted herself in pale blue crepe, and Alice accentuated her dark beauty with a forest green rayon sheath that hugged her curves in a most alluring way. There was a bit of a murmur over her choice – green was an unlucky color for a wedding and luck was at a premium these days – but once the folks actually saw Alice in her dress, the protests fell away.

“Can that be our Alice?” wondered Uncle Jem, as he watched her turn this way and that as Aunt Una pinned her hem before the Ingleside hearth. “That movie star, there? I’d better put myself on detail during the wedding fete, Faith – she’ll be fighting the boys off with a stick in that.”

For her part, Alice was not so sure. “This is my ‘three times a bridesmaid,’” she confessed to Cissy, laughingly, as they worked on mixing ingredients for the wedding cake in the Ingleside kitchen. “There was Aunt Di’s wedding – and Katy Murray’s, last summer – and you know the old saying as well as I do. But I promised Aunt Persis way back when that I’d stand up for her if she ever made up her mind to marry Uncle Shirley, and I must keep my word, even if it means dooming myself to old maidenhood.”

The wedding went off without a hitch – Shirley Blythe looked like to burst from pride as the fair Persis promised to ‘love and honor and obey’ – “but never, ever milk a cow!”— and the party in the garden after the ceremony was scented with the spice of red roses in the bouquet that little roly-poly Rosie Blythe plucked from the air after Aunt Persis (now in her dove gray traveling suit) tossed up on her way to the car that would take the newlyweds back to Avonlea and Green Gables. Alice had not even tried to join the throng to catch it. Instead she hung back by the fence, and watched the festivities half-hidden in the gloom of a copse of spruce, a little smile just touching her lips.

Jims Anderson found her there – stood for a moment out of sight, and watched her. In her green dress and with her dark hair, she blended with the trees – only the long line of her arms and throat showed white, and her shining pale face above that. Without quite knowing what he would do before he did it, he crossed to her, and found the curve of her hip with his hand. And then, drawing her close, he kissed her. Not at all to his surprise, he found Alice kissing him back.

She drew away from him and said, laughingly, “That wasn’t moonlight.” Her eyes were twin stars above her shy red mouth.

Jims kissed her again, and Alice threw her hands behind his head to pull him close –hands that were holding her own bouquet, made up of sweet new roses of the palest pink – love hopeful, and expectant.  

Unnamed Alice fic rewrite: Chapter 1

The muse hit last night...I stayed up far too late rewriting Alice. Here is the result. Please let me know what you think!

The Redmond College Convocation took place always in the first week of June, when the Kingsport campus was at it showiest with all sorts of blossomy things. The ash trees that ringed the campus were bursting with filmy blooms – the honeysuckle  ran rampant over the red brick in wild and fragrant falls. Beneath a canopy of bowery poplars, watched over by a statue of a sternly benevolent Founder, the senior class procession moved in two straight lines of giddy students, the boys in their best suits, the girls in fresh white dresses that stood out against the vibrant green. There was nothing more hopeful than the expectant looks on their faces, the squared shoulders and lifted chins that indicated pride in a job seen through to the end.

The Convocation hall was done up with banners in the school colors – cheery white and scarlet – but for all this showy splendor, the mood of the class of 1940 was a little subdued compared to previous years'. The dean of students made a speech that touched vaguely on ‘trials ahead’ and drew heavily on allegory of boats tossed about on stormy seas, which made them all think of Dunkirk, and what was, even now, going on there. There were gaps in the programme during which the name of some male student was called, but there was no figure to stride across the stage to accept the proffered diploma. These boys, it was understood, had joined up, and even now were on their way overseas. Others took to the stage to accept theirs in khaki uniforms, their hair under their caps freshly shorn according to army regulations. A rousing cheer went up for them, each mother clapping so furiously that her palms under her gloves began to tingle.

There was also a good deal of applause for each of the class medal winners; especially enthusiastic was the contingent that were there to see a slim girl in white lace take the class prizes in geometry and Latin. Alice Blythe climbed the steps both times her name was called clutching a small nosegay of white violets streaked with purple at the heart, which had arrived that morning with a congratulatory note from one Dr. Bruce Meredith of Maywater, PEI. To tell the truth, it was that cluster of blossoms that made her cheeks stained pink, not the prizes she was accepting. She had worked hard for the honors and was fairly sure of them. But she had not expected the flowers.

As she crossed the stage, those in the know in the audience poked each other and whispered that Miss Blythe had done a prestigious internship with an architecture firm in Toronto over the summer – and had been offered a permanent position for the following year – but had turned it down in favor of a hole-in-the-wall outfit somewhere in the backwoods. Some looked at the girl with renewed respect at that – some with a doubtful moue of the mouth – and a few of the male audience members (as Alice’s skirt swished about her shapely legs) with outright admiration that had nothing to do with her career potential.

 And there were others who watched with quite different emotions as the lithe black-haired girl shook the dean’s hand in a firm grip. Mrs. Diana Irving, wife of the renowned poet, clutched her husband’s arm and smiled as she thought of words that Alice had once said so certainly to her: I’m not interested in an education, Aunt Di – I’m quite contented to be a little ignoramus forever. A gray-haired man—still handsome and trim despite shoulders that were beginning to be stooped with age—felt a rush of tears as he thought of the lad that was this girls’ father. Walter Blythe had never had the chance to graduate – how proud he would have been of his daughter today! How unlikely it all was, the chain of events that brought them all together—how close they had come to not happening at all! He looked down at his wife and saw the same tears mirrored in her gray eyes, despite the pride that shone out from her face.

Up front in the crush of students, a handsome boy—who had already accepted his prize for Drama—elbowed the ribs of a golden-haired girl—who had been voted ‘class beauty’ at the last senior social—and said, teasingly, “Who would have expected our Joy to be the brains of the outfit after all?”

I knew it all along,” said Cecilia Meredith with a staunch set of her loyal little chin, as Alice left the stage and the students rose to sing the final theme—should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?


The senior class threw a graduation dance that night, and Alice and Cissy dressed for it together in Alice’s little rented room at the boarding house, which, despite her habitation of it for nearly four years, had never entirely felt like home. There was a patriotic theme for the night’s festivities—everything was patriotically themed now, because of the war—and so Alice left off her violets in favor of a rose-red ribbon in her curls. But she did prop the little bouquet in a glass of water on her bureau, where she could see it as she did her hair. Cissy followed her gaze, and exclaimed,

“Uncle Bruce sent you flowers, too! Wasn’t that sweet of him? I just about swooned over mine. Violets are so delicious, especially on a day like this. And such a nice little encouraging note he wrote, too. It was so like him to send it.”

Alice met her own gray eyes in the mirror and grinned a little sheepishly at herself. Of course Bruce’s flowers were a gesture of kindness from an old friend – it was silly to think they could have been anything else. That kiss on the verandah of the old Bailey House on the night of Aunt Di’s wedding was so long ago, had been born out of pure moonlight and nothing more. It was only that – well, it was only that Alice’s imagination was working overtime. But that was nothing new.

“It was very like Bruce,” Alice confirmed. “He always was so encouraging when it came to my education – he was one of the main reasons I ever decided to get one in the first place. Do you remember how you both helped me ‘cram’ for my Queens entrance exam – and how we thought up that cockamamie scheme to keep it a secret from everybody else?”

“Yes—and I remember how well you did even when you thought you wouldn’t,” said Cecilia, coming to wind her arms around Alice’s shoulders, which were left quite bare by her red halter dress. “You have always sold yourself short, Joy Blythe. Don’t you think you ought to take the job with Halstrom and Hamill after all? It is such a wonderful opportunity – and I would hate to see you give it up because you aren’t sure you can do it.”

“I am quite sure I can do it – I just don’t want to,” laughed Alice. “There is no ‘scope for the imagination,’ Cissy, in designing office buildings and hotels and vacation houses for rich people. I want to design real houses – for real people to live in. There is something sacred about the idea of home and hearth – the simpler, the better. I didn’t have a home of my own for so long, you know, not until I came to you all. My opa and I rented a flat in England but we were so poor that I was never quite sure it would last one week to the next, and besides, it never felt like home the way that Ingleside does.

“And that’s the other thing, Ciss—working with Mr. Harper means I can go home – I can drive to the building site in White Sands every morning and back again at night. How I miss Ingleside! I want to spend as much time as I can with all the dear old home folks this summer because –“

“Because Walt and Gilbert will be going,” sighed Cissy. “Walt hasn’t said so yet, but I knew last month, when I saw him do the St. Crispin’s day speech at the recital that he had decided. There was something resigned and determined in his tone, as if he were already facing down the hordes on the field. And Aunt Rilla says to expect Gilly to go any day now – he marched down to the registrar’s office the day after Germany invaded France and withdrew his name from next years’ class. She thinks he will be overseas by August.”

The idea of boy Gilbert in uniform – and Walt, dreamy, darling Walt – Alice wiped furiously at her eyes, suddenly overcome by the days’ events. “All this talk of home and cousins overseas! Oh! I won’t cry and ruin my eye make-up. I am going to have fun tonight, Cissy. I feel I’ve earned it after all that hard work, and I plan to enjoy every minute of this dance. Let’s talk about something else – please.”

Cissy obligingly changed the subject. “Did Jims ever say whether he would be free to come tonight?” she asked casually – perhaps too casually. But Alice was busy applying a shade of lipstick to match her dress and did not notice.

“Yes—he called and said he would take the ferry over this afternoon. He is preparing for trial next week, but he is going to be sure to come and escort us tonight. In fact, if all is going according to plan, he should be waiting for us downstairs right about now. Come on, Ciss – let’s fly!”

Alice did feel as though she were flying that night. She jitterbugged wildly with cousin Walt – she let a coed in khaki spin her in dizzying circles around the floor to the strains of the Beer Barrel Polka – at the crowd’s urging, she even joined the band for a laughing chorus of Lili Marlene. Flying high and fast – there was a fevered, urgent look about her through it all. It was not until Jims came to claim her for a slow song that she came down from her cloud and rested her cheek against his shoulder. Her vibrant face grew calm and contented, and her eyes glowed with that old Alice light – soft and steady and true.

Cissy Meredith, dancing with a nondescript sort of youth who tried valiantly not to step on her toes, caught that look and thought that she must find out once and for all whether there really was anything between Alice and Jims Anderson. It would, she reflected, be her summertime vow to herself. 

Casting Things We Write

We're not the only ones who do it!


Letter Game: Blythe Siblings as Requested

Walter "Walt" Blythe:

Aramis Knight

Rosemary "Rosie" Blythe:

Quinn McColgan

Letter game: Olivia Blanche Ford

played by Renee St Gerlais

Olivia the youngest child of Kenneth, the editor of the Toronto Review, and Rilla, his socialite wife. She has a wry sense of humor and upbeat personality but is awkward and uncertain around those she doesn't know well. She loves movies, magazines, fashion, and music, but worries that her looks and personality are a disappointment to her beautiful, glamorous mother.

She is very close to her Grandmother Blythe, Rita Blaine, a copyeditor at her father's magazine, and her "adopted" brother Jims Anderson, who is currently studying at Redmond College. She is not very close with her perfect elder brother Gilbert, but she does admire him. She lives in Toronto and visits the Island in the summer; despite her love of pretty clothes and swing music, she vastly prefers the pace of life in the Glen to the big city.  

Letter Game: Elizabeth Blythe

Elizabeth Blythe, daughter of Jem and Faith:

Morgan Turner 

Loves reading and mathematics, dreams of becoming a world traveler and college professor. Prefers animals to people, book friends and logic problems to real relationships. Mostly practical, but does like to lose herself in dreams occasionally. Very close to her father, Grandfather Blythe, and Grandmother Meredith, and enthralled by her grandmother's stories of Katherine Brooke, explorer and adventurer.

I'd love to see what the rest of you have for your characters so far!

The Letter/Journal Game, Prelim

So, we've been talking in comments about starting a letter/journal game between Anne and Gilbert's grandchildren, and I decided it was time to make the topic its own post.

So, for grandchildren, we have the option of a child of ...

Jem and Faith (tentatively claimed by Louise, but she's willing to pick someone else if others have their hearts set on this one)
Nan and Jerry
Di and {unknown spouse}
Shirley and {unknown spouse}
Rilla and Ken (claimed by Cath)

and possibly

Carl and {unknown spouse}
Persis and {unknown spouse}

and if people wanted to get really daring,

Una and {unknown spouse}

(Any of the above characters with unknown spouses can be matched with each other, of course, if people want)

We have thought of starting it with Gilbert, at the beginning of the story, giving each of his grandchildren a journal and requesting that they fill it by the end of the year, and including letters that they write to each other as they strive to fill those journals. We've talked about ideas for a central plot, namely:

finding out more about Uncle Walter
learning about Anne's family
helping lonely people in their own lives
matchmaking Una (if she is currently single)

Or if people don't like any of those, we can always just run with the letters and journals and see what crops up - have each character have her (or his - we were originally talking granddaughters, but there's no reason to not have a grandson included in this) own story.

The only other questions are, do we want to keep this just here on the blog, or post it on ff.net as well, and who all is participating? Regarding the first, I think I would prefer to keep this on the blog, but that's just me. Regarding the second, as many people as want to join in are welcome - if we get too many for the characters we have, we can always throw in Diana's grandchildren, Dora and Davy's, Phil's, Priscilla's, Stella's, or anyone else we can think of! The Anne books have an enormous cast; the possibilities are boundless.

Just Wanted To Say ...

I was glancing through my files this weekend, and saw some of the pictures I'd saved to serve as mental reference points for LMM characters - both canon and my own creations. It made me smile kind of wistfully; I don't have any ambition to go back and write more LMM fanfic, especially not now when I barely have enough time for any of my original writing, much less stories set in someone else's world, but honestly, I miss the fun and camaraderie of when all (or many) of us were all writing LMM stories around the same time, commenting on each other's works and sharing ideas, things that drove us nuts from the original books, and everything else.

I know that moving forward from one interest/activity to a different one is natural and healthy, and that it makes sense that our involvement in LMM fanfic would wane, especially with kids and life taking over, but I still miss it! I miss reading all your stories, and even miss writing my own.

Who knows, maybe five years down the road, kids in school and life calming down, we'll find ourselves returning to our PEI stories, revisiting old characters and stories. Maybe not, maybe the gate to the road is closed for good, but ... I guess only time will tell.

Story in the round?

Did you guys ever do this growing up? One person starts the story, it goes to the next, they write a chapter, then to the next...

I know we're all super busy right now but I want to try this! Who knows? It might get all those creative juices flowing again.

Bound by canon?

I forgot to mention in my last post: I've started reading The Blythes are Quoted. I got it for Christmas. And...I kind of HATE it. I thought it was interesting, the way Maud was experimenting with different writing styles and forms of storytelling, and I liked some of the teasing moments between Anne and Gilbert but I'm not a fan of LMM's short stories in general, and these are not even her best. The working of the Blythes into every story seems really uncomfortably forced, and there are a few moments with Walter that are just too much (Walter: I hope I meet a friend like that someday. A Voice no one hears: You will. And his name will be death.) !!!

But anyway. One of the most surprising things I found, leafing through the book, was that LMM mentions several of Anne and Gilbert's grandchildren. There's Gilbert Ford, who was mentioned in the Road to Yesterday, who seems to be somewhat of a ladies man, and Walter Blythe, Jem and Faith's son, who is a poet like his namesake. But apparently there is also a Jem Jr, a Di Meredith (Nan's daughter), a Rilla Ford (Rilla and Ken's daughter), and an "Anne" whose parents are not given. There are more grandchildren, whose names aren't given, but it is mentioned that "several" of Dr. Gilbert Blythe's grandsons are going away to fight in WWII.

I've always tried to have a Walter Blythe and Gilbert Ford in all of my stories about the third generation, seeing as I kind of sort of considered The Road to Yesterday to be canon. But even though The Blythes are Quoted is being billed as #9 in the Anne series, I don't know whether I consider it canon enough to include these characters in my works. I kind of don't want to, as I don't like the book--but also because to have another Di, Jem, Walter, Gilbert, Anne AND Rilla would be a little confusing!

What do you think? Do you feel that you must stick to LMM's works as she set them out? Or are you not worried about it?

Too many people!

I am using some of my time off this week to outline a rewrite of my Blythe By Name story and plan for the sequel, Blythe By Nature. And I am having the HARDEST time dealing with all of these characters! The adults AND their children. With all of the Blythe, Meredith and Ford second generation and all of their children AND the Golden kids, I've got something like 30+ primary and secondary characters to deal with!

I am thinking of paring things way back, by making Sally an only child and taking the Cam, Walt, and Helen characters and making them cousins, giving them away to Jerry and Nan and Rilla and Ken. It goes against canon, since LMM mentions Walter Blythe in The Blythes are Quoted and The Road to Yesterday, but think it makes sense that Jem and Faith would only have one child, given the fact that both Jem and Faith are devoted to their careers. And that way, the other characters could be mentioned from time to time without having to have a major role.

What do you guys think? How do you handle so many characters (especially Adrienne--I think TTTT has the most amount of characters any of our stories!)

Argh! I really want to write this story because I want to write a more "realistic" sequel, but I am feeling so frustrated by this story, I'm seriously considering just abandoning it all together. But the story I have for Sally and Harry is one that I really want to write. So I don't know.

Are you all working on anything lately?

If You Don't Like Spoilers....

... don't read any Downton Abbey fan fiction.  They've made it through five episodes of Series Two in England, and the reading material has definitely shown how much has gone on since we last saw our Crawley family here, in the U.S.  I will say that from what I can tell, they're at least being true to the sense of WWI by not everyone returning or returning in tact.

Cheating, Or Being Bold?

Do you guys think it would be cheating to write a LMM fanfic that didn't have a romance - that was, in fact, somewhat the opposite, where the girl has the chance to get married, but chooses independence in the end?

Because I toyed with the idea of leaving Gwen single at the end of her series, but I've been setting her up so nicely for romance, and really, she IS the perfect match for someone in her life, and I would have a guilty conscience if I kept them apart.

But that's made me think how much I would love to write one where the heroine does not end up settling down with a husband and family, but chooses instead to pursue her other loves. Except I don't think LMM ever did that, and I'm not sure - it almost feels wrong to deviate so drastically from her usual pattern.

On the other hand, I've already made Rilla out to be not so great in the Gwen stories, and shattered the whole "Blythes are a perfect family" idea, so I suppose it would really only be taking it one step further.

What do you think? Would you feel cheated, reading an LMM fic that didn't end with True Love?

Downton Abbey Series Two Cast Photo

This says a lot, I think.
Notice Sybil is in a nurse's uniform.  I cannot wait until this comes out! 

The Sisters of Downton Abbey

Did you guys see this article about the sisters? I think they look stunning (especially, paradoxically enough, Edith)!

And oh! I am so excited for the next season.

Emily of New Moon and Blythe By Name

One of my book blogger friends posted this link about her thoughts on Emily of New Moon and I thought you guys might enjoy it! She just read it for the first time and had some interesting things to point out about it.


I also wanted to post that I've been reworking Blythe By Name lately, as a writing exercise...I need to get into writing again and I thought I might fix some of the things I DIDN'T like about the first draft. For instance, I thought the children were too cruel in their treatment of Irene. I think the new story will be less about trying to get Irene out of the family and more about coming to terms with change, the way you do when you're on the cusp of adulthood. Shirley's marriage to Irene will represent for the children (Sally especially) that life brings unexpected issues and challenges.

It's coming along, and I might post some of the rewrites, soon. I really love this version of the third generation, they are my favorites so far! I want to do their story justice and am having fun revisiting them again.

The Summer Between, Complete

I posted the last chapter (more of an epilogue than a full chapter, really) of The Summer Between this morning. The story has actually been complete for a while, but I just got lazy about posting it until I got some very annoyed reviews wondering if I was ever going to update again!

It will probably be a little while before I work at all on the next Gwen story. Original writing has kind of taken over my time lately (as it should be, I guess), but I hope to come back to Gwen eventually.

The final chapter is here. I hope you guys enjoy!