ROW80 Check-in

The last three days  I was going in circles. I have an episode in which the two main characters finally have a chance to talk one-on-one and tell about themselves. The first version of the dialogue sounded stilted and forced. It was too unnatural for two strangers to reveal incriminating details about themselves in a casual chat.

In the second version of the episode I brought in a bottle of Bordeaux. It helped a bit, but the female character was still wary and refused to drink more than one glass. The male character consumed most of the wine and was unhappy.

On the third re-write I added a bottle of Riesling to the Bordeaux, and the ice broke. The conversation flowed, albeit a bit incoherently, but the girl ended up sitting in the man’s lap. Now I am throwing out the old “morning after” part and writing a new one with the hangover factored in.

No modern history research is possible without period photos. Bundesarchiv picture database is a treasure trove of photos and posters from the Third Reich era. Another fabulous archive is BPK (Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz) . It has a great collection of color photos of Nazi-occupied Ukraine. However, since those are German archives, you will need to use German search terms and German spellings of geographical names. For example, Kiew instead of Kiev, Charkow instead of Kharkov or Russland instead of Russia. Ukraine is spelled the same in German.

Since one of my main characters is an Ostarbeiterin, a female forced laborer from the Soviet Union, here are a couple of Bundesarchiv photos showing such women.

At a factory in Berlin these women workers ate their lunch in a separate room to prevent mixing with Germans. Note the OST badges that they were required to wear. Some of them are very young. Many of the forced laborers were teenagers and children as young as 1o years old.
Forced laborers from the Soviet Union at an automotive repair shop in Berlin.
Goals for this week:
  • Rewrite the part leading up to the Battle of Berlin, and, if time allows, the part covering the Battle of Berlin;
  • Finish Harvest of Despair by Karel C. Berkhoff;
  • Post a book review.
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4 comments on “ROW80 Check-in

  1. Julie Glover says:

    That was fascinating information about Ostarbeiterin. It’s so important to get the background right for a novel. Best wishes with your goals this week!

    Personally, I’d drink the Riesling and leave the Bordeaux.

  2. My female character agrees with you on Riesling! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  3. Sony says:

    This is so cool. Pictures really do add another dimension to research. I hope they’ve inspired your imagination. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’re working on.

  4. You’re right, Sony! Pictures are a great help in visualizing the setting and people. You can see so many small details, like furnishings or clothes, in them that are rarely mentioned in period accounts and narratives. I only wish color photos were more common then!

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