When I set out the write The Terrapin's Trail, I always kind of wondered what had to happen in Act II, during the Japanese occupation in Singapore. I knew my hero's part of the story at the internment camp, but I had only a faint idea of the heroine's side of the story set in Singapore.
Then today, as I was writing a scene, something just didn't click. It sounded fake, unauthentic, and dramatically stale and dull. What is going on? Then I thought more on it, and suddenly I had an epiphany.
I had the history wrong.
I started Googling "wartime brothels" and the result was humbling. As I read the horror stories of these real-life "comfort women" during the Pacific War, I realized that was the story I must write, from the eyes of my heroine. And suddenly everything fit. All the story threads start to come together. Best of all, it feels more authentic and real, and potentially full of drama, conflicts and character development that I desperately tried to find in this part of the story.
I'm all psyched now.
But I'm also scared.
There's so much to tell here, and to tell it well, worthy of all the women who suffered through that horrible time. I feel like I need to tell the story as realistic as I can, to honor these women and expose the true ugliness and humanity (incidentally, the Japanese Prime Minister refused to acknowledge the existence of these wartime brothels).
Shit. This story continues to grow as I write it. It's turning into one huge thing. And I truly hope I can pull it off.
Back to the drawing board.