Monday, July 30, 2012

Background, MASTER


I've worked for years on Master of Westfall Plantation. That's not to say it's any better or worse for the effort. However, I'm happy to see it to a conclusion, of sorts. Tilmon's character comes in part from James Henry Hammond, an actual historical figure. Tilmon's day-to-day life mirrors that of Thomas Chaplin, a sea island planter. As you may have guessed, I read old diaries like you might read fiction. That's not to say all diaries are equally entertaining, but when you get a good one, it's really good.
I think Tilmon is typical of antebellum planters. He's born to believe he's superior to blacks, women, foreigners, and those men not considered "high caliber." He has been trained to superiority, just as the slaves, women, and immigrants have to inferiority. Can he be less than superior? I don't know yet if he has the nature to adapt. 
When Tilmon Goodwyn's story began, Kedzie was a minor character, but she wouldn't settle for that. It was as if she insisted on her own story. I didn't think she had it in her...
Anyway, I'm presently working on another story that is an aside to Tilmon, a story of Wink and Mooey. This book began as a way to explain Mooey, who ran away in the novel Kedzie. By the time Rio finds her, she has presumably survived several months in the winter woods alone with no food or shelter, a virtual impossibility. Because of point of view issues, I couldn't tell her story in Kedzie. And she has one.

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