About 5k words into the new story. Turns out my computer crash/writing loss actually worked out pretty good, because I’m liking this different direction I’m taking the story far better.
I’ve also mostly decided on how far into the Victorian cockney street slang I’m willing to go. Basically I’m keeping it almost entirely to dialog, and I think there will always be enough context to figure most of it out. It’s definitely there, but I don’t think it’s going to be so complicated that it’s like, A Clockwork Orange level of work to get through it. I am trying to keep my language in the non-dialog writing as un-anachronistic as possible. For instance, at one point I used the word “handle” in place of “nickname” which wasn’t right for the time. So I changed it. I’m not TOO nitpicky about it, but I’m trying to keep it as nebulous as possible.
Speaking of nicknames, apparently pretty much everyone in The East End went by a nickname, so I’ve had a good time coming up with names for some of these hookers. Dry-Polly-Jean was one I particularly enjoyed. I hope they don’t find her Down by the Water. I hope I don’t hit every single one directly on the nose as well.
a bit of the first draft:
“What’d you see Geeza? You get around enough ya toffer,” Dry Polly asked her, wringing out a wad of gray looking drawers. The water ran foul and dark back into the trough that ran up the table. It contained the water and soap they were all using to wash the clothes. Once every half hour or so one of the attendants would come down with a pair of buckets and top it off with warm water from upstairs.
“I ain’t seen nothing,” Vickie said, glancing at Mary-Ellen. The fact was that Vickie hadn’t seen anything, but Mary-Ellen had. What Mary-Ellen had seen frightened her intensely and she’d confessed one night over wine exactly what it was, making Vickie promise not to repeat it.
“What about you Mary-Ellen?”
Mary stood for a moment, stammering.
“I haven’t — I never saw…”
“I did see one thing,” Vickie interrupted her. Dry-Polly-Jean looked back at Vickie.
“Yah, I seen a thing that scared me more than anything I ever seen before,” Vickie said, feigning sheepish fear.
“What’d you see, dilly-boy?” Polly asked, her hands on her hips. She saw through Vickie’s lie immediately. It wasn’t a surprise, as Vickie was grinning.
“Your stinking notch, you flat-fucking sappho!” Vickie blurted out. Dry-Polly gave her a look that said she wasn’t impressed. That was fine. Vickie wasn’t trying to impress her. She was trying to divert attention away from Mary-Ellen. It was something that she did most mornings since Mary-Ellen told her what she’d seen. Getting through the five hour laundry shift was challenging enough as it was. Doing it while constantly deflecting conversation away from Mary-Ellen, who was once often the subject of discussion herself, and a frequent participant. The way she’d withdrawn hadn’t gone unnoticed, and Vickie wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep the others at bay.