Hi, y’all! First, thanks so much for stopping in today. This is my first time participating in the monthly hop sponsored by Insecure Writers Support Group. I stumbled over the group by accident, and a happy one at that. I don’t know a writer out there who hasn’t felt on some level at some point at least a little less than confident in something to do with their writing. I think I see the term fraud syndrome floating around cyber-space quite a bit these days. Ten years ago, when I signed my first contract, we just tended to hide in the shower in tears lamenting how unworthy we were, utterly alone. Now here we are banding together and facing our fears and insecurities together. I’m on board for there is strength in numbers!
The prompt this month is right up my alley: personal or family traditions/customs I may have share in stories.
I love this! Another weekly writing challenge I participate in touched on a similar subject this week by asking what character I had found who reminded me of myself. As with the traditions and customs, I tend to put a lot of myself into my characters. While I’ve not really found a character written by another author who reminds me of myself, I tend to lend my traits to my characters. So many times, they’re a direct reflection of me. I mean, I am who I know best. As I explained in that post, I am married to a Marine who served the empire faithfully for thirty years. He’s recently retired and we’re slowly adjusted to “civilian life.” However, just because we no longer live aboard base or are bound in shackles to the deployment rotations, I still draw much of my inspiration for my writing from my experiences as a wife and military community, the Marine Corps community most especially. So, when I saw the words traditions and customs? My gravy! I’ve so got this.
The biggest social event of the year for Marines and their significant others is of course the Marine Corps Ball which is the big birthday bash. The official birthday is on November 10. However, balls are held all throughout the month of November as there are so many of them and never enough venues to accommodate them all at once. I’ve been to small, intimate gatherings, and I’ve been to gargantuan affairs. This tradition has made its way into more than one of my stories and/or books. Most notably, I depicted this party on steroids in my first ever published work The Executive Officer’s Wife. That work in its original form is no longer in circulation, but I have re-titled it Restitution and included it in a boxed set of two prequel novels to the new series I’m working on.
I have to admit, though, that I had uncertainties including this gala in my works. My first reservation is always that I might not get it right. It’s such a special night and so elegant, and putting the pageantry into words and have it flow seamlessly is a near impossibility. I always fear I won’t capture all the intricate details. And, I always fear I’ll go overboard with all the intricate details. Which brings me to this. The fear I might overload my readers with an information dump by being entirely too descriptive. It’s a fine line with this size of event and trying to condense the highlights into a few interesting paragraphs that won’t overwhelm or seem like a Marine Corps manual. In the end, I had my in-house expert, AKA MarshFox, read it over and give me some pointers. In fact, I ask for his advice on all things Marine Corps quite often to ensure I’m showing my readers what life is like in that world with authenticity.
Other Marine Corps traditions, customs, and ceremonies I’ve used in my works include promotions, change of command, mess night, and traditional Marine Corps weddings. I love being able to carry on this part of our lives in such a way as to share it with my readers. And relive it a bit myself.