It really is a strange situation to be in.
Let me explain, for once in my life I have the time to sit down, in perfect peace with no outside interference, and write to my hearts content.
I’m on the sick with a bad foot so I can’t work around the house, I can’t drive anywhere and obviously I can’t go to work. The kids are at school so there’s no TV on or Space Invader sound effects screamed up and down the living room. The wife is at work so I’m not being constantly reminded of the need to mow the lawn etc. etc.
So here I am, in front of my computer and nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing is forthcoming.
I’m drier than a bowl of baked Saharan sand where ideas are concerned.
Well I did actually complete two whole pages yesterday but that was after a good five hours.
My other problem is that I don’t know much about the whole Gulag criminal hierarchy of that time.
It seems that certain criminal elements were actively used by the authorities to control the other prisoners.
There was a whole caste of professional criminal who were rather like the Mafia. These “Urki” as they were known as, almost ran the camps in the Gulag system. They didn’t work but made sure that others worked so what the system lost in discipline it made up for in productivity.
And then there was another class of convict who was held in even higher esteem called the,
“Vor v Zakone”, which means Thief in Law.
These guys ran the system. They were criminals but their influence ran through the entire chain of administration and they really were the Cosa Nostra of the Russian Steppes.
Who knows about these things?
Nobody, but I had to learn about them pretty sharpish and thus change my characters to incorporate them into the story.
The long term effects of male castration was another topic that reared its (very) ugly head as one of the bad guys was castrated while he served time in a Gulag.
However, I didn’t know that Eunuchs only have a high voice if they were castrated before puberty or that they developed longer limbs than most people due to a lack of the chemical that hardens the ligaments, so that had to be changed too.
It’s been hell, I can tell you. A drought of ideas, a revision of the story due to research deficiencies…
Who‘d be me, eh?
(Nobody if they had any sense…)
Oh dear sorry about the foot. Lets hope it improves soon.
Right then Reggo sucking eggs timer....first rule of thumb only write what you know about or can make to feel authentic. Having read the blog you have done endless research at some point.
Suggestion........end the chapter you're on and begin a new chapter with different characters (not too many)encompassing the storyline you write about in the blog.Spend a couple of hours just playing with characters. How will they finally end up in the book. Saviours? Dead? Heros of the camp and then die just before redemption.It begins then to feel like a book within a book if that makes sense. Gives the reader something else to consider.
Did they have women in Gulags or are they all male dominated? Maybe turn protocol on it's arse and introduce two woman "Kommandants" (Is that what a sort of prison govenor is called in Russia)? One could be the woman from hell and the other a softy version if treated right.If you consider these thoughts maybe inspiration will come from it.
If all that fails come right away from it and take a look at Frank Delaney. It will get you back into writing mode and thought patterns will start to emerge.
Hope that helps.