Angus O’Grady – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 1

AI decided to pursue a different path with the 2017 edition of the A to Z Challenge, by taking my newest writing project, called Steel Horse Saviors, and introducing characters, setting, and pieces of the plot. Steel Horse Saviors tells the story of three Civil War veterans who head west as the war ends with a newly acquired steam locomotive to seek not only their fortune but survival. On the journey west they find Clementine O’Grady, who is determined to keep her father’s timber and lumber empire going strong as the country tries to re-stitch itself. My overall plan is to scheme it out over the next six months and take it with me as I try to complete the 30 day tempest known as National Novel Writing Month in November.

For those of you new to either challenge, let me take a moment to lay it out. The A to Z challenge tasks you with posting 26 times in April along an alphabet guideline. NaNoWriMo challenges you to write 50K words in 30 days. Yes 50K is in the range of a novella, so maybe Steel Horse Saviors will be only that.

Anyway, the first character I want to introduce is Angus O’Grady, an Irish immigrant who came to America in 1821, forty-five years before the novel begins in the months surrounding the end of America’s Civil War. O’Grady will appear only in flashbacks of his family and other characters influenced by his life.

His backstory concerns how he came to America penniless, but within a couple of decades had a thriving timber and lumber business in the American West, which kept expanding further into the wild every year. His strong work ethic is ingrained in his youngest daughter, Clementine, the heroine of the story and will be a major element of this work.

Here is an excerpt:

Angus stood with his arm around Delilah, surveying the seemingly unending acreage of prime timber. Working for old man MacGruder for all these years had finally paid off. The Scot had promised it would, but Angus had about given up hope. But there was something between them MacGruder could not deny. Angus had saved his life at least a half dozen times and that counted for more than anything.

Now Angus could make sure his growing family was taken care of for their life. He could see great things coming for his brood. He even had a name for the enterprise. O’Grady Timber. If he succeeded in this initial try maybe he would move into lumber as well.

Come back Monday to read about Doctor Elise Begley, the one woman in Penley River that treats Clementine, the heroine of Steel Horse Saviors as an equal.

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40 thoughts on “Angus O’Grady – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 1

  1. I really like the sound of your novel.
    Oh, so you’re aiming for the NaNoWriMo? I hope my ideas fro my new project will be ready enough to partecipate this year. Last year I tried, but my ideas were too vague and I had to baile.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

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  2. This will be a very interesting take on the challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing how you handle and also learning a lot more about your novel-in-progress.

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  3. I’m intrigued by the characters and the situation. I’m a native of upstate New York, but my Accomplice is from the Pacific Northwest, and we met at the Grand Canyon, so I may find a lot to love in your story.

    Basically, if a challenge has a WriMo in it, I’m there. As a matter of fact, I’m currently a bit over 3K into my CampNaNoWriMo novel, which is a prequel for my Kifo Island hospice-resort series. I’m aiming for 65,000 words this month, because most of the Kifo books so far have been near that total. Once, I managed 125K during NaNo – I was writing a fan fiction novel, and it really took off – by the time I finished it in mid-December, it had gotten to 225K!

    I’ve used the technique of developing characters and plot lines during A-Z. Last year, I played with several story arcs for my Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction. A few years back, I did an A-Z alternating alphabetical female/male characters as the basis for Kifo Island. Many of those characters have now had a draft (this month’s project is the seventh Kifo novel I’ve taken on, and I’ll do one more this year, in July).

    I hope you make some amazing and useful discoveries along the way, and I’ll be back to see where the alphabet takes you!

    Slices of an Unschooling Life
    @shanjeniah
    Indie Writer, Mom-in-Chief, and Joyful Learning Facilitator
    Shan Jeniah’s Lovely Chaos

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  4. I love following your planning process. I’ve started a novella/novel called The Reunion that I’ve posted some excerpts from on my blog. I’ve done some character development but I definitely will be learning from your posts. So, thank you!

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