Tag Archives: Melody of Madness: Surviving Sister

Surviving Sister Revisited

It has taken me so very long to get the edits done on Naked Alliances that I am not nearly as far along on Surviving Sister as I had intended to be. I’m giving it some attention now. That started with me reading the four or five chapters I have completed.

I’m at 15, 297 words on that book. The first chapter, as always, seems to be giving me the most trouble.

I know that it’s best to drop backstory in as you move along in a story. However, with this story, that takes place in the mid to late fifties and early sixties, I am going between two POV, the two sisters. There is an action scene in Chapter One, but much of Chapter One is relating their childhood and relationship with their parents at an early age relative to them being so very transient and I feel that is important to understanding why they behave as they do in subsequent chapters.

So I’m breaking a rule. Again. I can only hope it doesn’t backfire.

In Chapter One, there is an incident that occurs in the sisters’ teen years where they are forced to move yet again, and that’s where the real story of their present starts.

This is a more cerebral read than anything like genre fiction that is exclusively for entertainment. I’m hoping my audience for this book will be like my audience for Red Clay and Roses. It goes deeper. Introspective. Reflective. Meaningful. Filled with emotion. Nothing remotely funny about it.

The first chapter sets up the dynamics of the two sisters, let’s you in on the dynamics of their parents, their grandma, how they relate to their world and the tone of the story.

I may make some changes later, but I’m liking it so far.

Here’s a throwback! Me and my older sister in the tub. 1961.

Connie and Susie


Story Not Forgotten

Whatever happened to that other WIP, “Melody of Madness: Surviving Sister?”

It surfaces for air every few weeks. It is a painful process, slow and tedious. It is a difficult thing to write on an issue that is so very personal. How two sisters grew up in the same household and community and suffered from the same psychiatric malady, but share their perceptions through entirely different personal life experiences and develop entirely different personalities.

Claudette, the older, the pianist, appears strongest at the beginning, suffers and struggles through extraordinarily difficult situations that weaken her resolve, but stores the lessons away soulfully, strengthening the marrow that supports her frame.

Carol, the younger, the ballerina, appears weak and frail initially, defies all odds to achieve lofty goals, surpasses everything she ever dreamed of…lilting her way along, and then the perfection is ripped away, shattered, and she is sucked into a vortex she can never escape from.

The relationships they have with their parents, each other, and the ones they come to love crumble as a result of their illness, but one finds ways to triumph and one is forever lost to the emotional waves of manic-depression that crash the spirit against jetties of life.

They love each other as much as they grow to despise each other. Each has three daughters of approximately the same ages.

The sequel parallels the lives of the two middle daughters who are manic-depressive, subsequently dealing with their malady differently and resulting in totally different outcomes.

My word count on Book One is at 15,300. But it moves along like a sailboat on the sea with no wind. There is so very much research required, and the subject matter during the time period does not lend itself to quick searches on the internet.

This is a black and white 8X10 I have of my mother during her youth. Standing in the water, she is showing her friend, one of the Strickland girls, a water lily.

fifties and mama Pine mountain 001

This is a 1957 Chamber of Commerce brochure of the small town of Pine Mountain (Chipley), GA, the inspiration of the fictional town of Southbridge, GA, in the book.

fifties and mama Pine mountain 005


More photos of the pages in the brochure showing the local attractions. I found this in my mother’s scrapbook. You should be able to click on the pic to read the detail.


Uprighted clip

S.O. co. uprighted



Small southern towns are very proud of the little things that put them on the map, like Callaway Gardens, Roosevelt’s Little White House and State Park. Even my Uncle’s Standard Oil Company and the various hotels family members owned got into the brochure, and of course, both the Methodist and the Baptist Church…every small southern town has those. The only industry in town was Dacula Shirt factory…it has long been gone, Arrow took them over and it is nothing but a warehouse and offices today.

This is still a pet project that has not been abandoned but can only receive occasional attention.

Do you have any pet projects hiding in the wings?