The Writing Process — The Lost Company

Posted on Sunday, October 10th, 2010

The Writing process — more thoughts on how The Lost Company was written.

In order to determine what would happen to each modern character I created a random-selection casualty chart and used some of my son’s D & D dice. I decided upon this format because I did not want to foreshadow any individual’s actions, and I did not want to know what would happen to any person. Strangely, the throw of the dice proved to be frighteningly accurate to what had happened to these individuals, or to their ancestors. One character’s father had been wounded in the leg during WWII. My dice created the same scenario. Another’s grandfather had suffered combat fatigue during WWI—my dice duplicated this as well. And a third had been suffering (without telling anyone) from a shoulder injury—and yes, the dice created the same. I have no idea how these historic wounds were so accurately duplicated by my son’s 10-sided dice.

As I was putting the story’s outline together I was troubled by which battle to put the re-enactors into. One evening while pouring over the photocopied pages of Hannaford’s book on the 6th Ohio my wife called me down to dinner. I still had not chosen which battle, and was perplexed by my inability to make a decision. However, after dinner when I came back up to the office I was dismayed to find the photocopied pages all over the floor—I must have left the window open. The breeze had scattered away all the pages, leaving the chapter describing the battle of Stones River at the top of the undisturbed stack. That was my sign—the battle would be Stones River!

The 6th Ohio at Ohio Village in Columbus, OH.

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