Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Increments . . .


This huge (bigger than a basketball) hornet's nest was built one tiny mouthful of wood pulp and hornet saliva at a time. growing slowly and perfectly to its final form. Beginning with the New Year -- actually on New Year's Eve -- I have adopted a similar strategy to complete my work in progress -- the Civil War era novel I've mentioned many times before. 

There has been so much research to do, so many threads to bring together, and so many different "true" accounts to consider that at times the task has seemed overwhelming. As have the emotional pitch of the events I'm chronicling. So as I near the climax and the end, I'm taking things in very small mouthfuls -- rather than biting off more I can chew  -- and I'm finding this approach is working well. 

I have set myself the task of a minimum of a page a day -- 250 words, no matter what. Easy -- I can do that in less than an hour. Most days I quadruple that page count. (I could do more but I've taken on an editing project for an ex-student and that too is occupying my time -- hours each day for the next few weeks.) 

I'm very happy at how this is working. I'm staying in the story -- which means I go to sleep thinking about what comes next and wake up, ready to tackle the next increment. The characters are telling me what to do and I'm taking time to fully explore each scene, hoping to avoid the rushed feeling  of a condensed book that sometimes happens near the end of a novel. 

After several years of necessarily dilatory writing, I'm eager to see this book completed. Inch by inch, tiny bite by tiny bite, it will be -- and, I hope, it will be all the better for not being hurried. 

I'll let you know when I write THE END.



9 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

Sounds like you are on the right path. Kudos.

Frances said...

It is very interesting to read about the way in which you are bringing all your careful research and thinking about characters and settings and events, and so forth into the actual writing of the book. It's good that your characters are showing you the way forward. I'm looking forward to being able to read this book, Vicki. xo

Jim Egerton said...

I can't wait Vicki for your book to be finished.

In the mean time I am reading TOUCHING THE WILD by Joe Hutto. He is the fellow that was on PBS that raised Turkeys. This book is about 7 years of living with mule deer in Wyoming. All I can say is, wonderful. He is a sensitive caring soul that lets us look at his relations with these wild animals. Just beautifully done.

katy gilmore said...

Love this update! Onward in increments! xo

jennyfreckles said...

Amazing hornet's nest... and yes, a very good approach to any difficult task is bite-sized chunks. I wouldn't know even how to begin to write a novel. You have my admiration.

NCmountainwoman said...

Reminds me of the great Pete Seeger, "inch by inch, row by row." I've taken the same tactic in a baby blanket I've been working on. No longer put aside, the blanket increases at least ten rows a day. Sometimes you just gotta git'er done.

Ms. A said...

Whatever it takes to reach the goal and we all know you are a goal reacher!

Thérèse said...

Nice to read about the way you put your ideas and research into your writing and everything seems to fall naturally into place. All the best.

Carol Crump Bryner said...

I look forward to this book. Especially after hearing about bits of your research, etc., and I love the way you associate your progress with the building of the hornet's nest. And most people never realize how very much time and so very many little steps go into the creation of a work of art.