Tuesday 4 February 2020

Inventing inventions

Twin girls in my fifth book in the cycle have had to take over the running of their father’s factory when he died suddenly of a heart attack.  Was his heart perhaps broken because of the war? 

In the original documents I’ve read that inspired this cycle of books there were twins girls who lost their father.  They did have to take over the running of the factory. But there was no more information about that. 

So, I’ve had to use that third tool that historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction writers often have to use: the imagination.  But it is used in a very specific way.  What happens to these characters given that they live in these very specific conditions? 

What did this factory make, in fact? The father did not have to go away to fight so what he manufactured must have been important to the war effort. I decided it was spectacle frames and cases. My mother’s war work was at such a factory.  

I also have my girls attend a reunion with the students from their last school. I created a girl with a broken arm. She’d slipped awkwardly in a cow pat whilst working on a farm. One year I broke my arm badly in June only to break the other own but a little less severely in November. A bum bag and a little cross-body handbag became the norm so I could carry all of the personal essentials around.  
Well, bum bags didn’t exist then. But the enterprising young lady had fixed a small bag to her belt. This gives my twins the idea that they could make something similar to offer to the troops.  In fact, as small metal pouch that can be attached securely to a belt would be just right for those soldiers fighting at the front. They could keep personal effects in there. 

I then even have a soldier writing home to another family singing the praises of what the girls call the snappy pouch. 

Fortunately as they’re largely built on the design of the spectacle case they only have to retool a little.
Does such an object exist? I’ve not found it yet but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did. This third way often uncovers something we have met before but have long forgotten.  Or it helps us to think the way that the people were writing about may have thought. 

In the case of the twins I’ve used this to third way to uncover what it’s like for them working in a man’s world, or having to give orders to people older and more experienced than them how they’ve been able to dress for business and shorty I’ll be using it to find out what it would have been like learning to drive back then.    

Image by PixArc from Pixabay           

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