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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Thursday, December 13, 2007

up on blocks

Kimmie took yesterday off to ice gingerbread cookies. A welcome respite from the morning alarm, and a bit of a change of pace. The blog-post got squeezed out.

I continue to work on my story. By that I mean, work on the story itself--the succession of "what happens".

This is anxiety-inducing. Why? Because while I tinker, fiddle, and imagine with a bunch of conversational notes to myself, and shift around entries in a list of bullet-points, the book itself, the prose, sits idle, like a car up on blocks. In this case the whole drivetrain has been pulled, and the mechanics going over it seem to be taking their time.

Some part of me is no different from the old-time Hollywood mogul Jack Warner, reputed to have walked past the writers' offices on the studio lot to make sure he heard the clack of typewriters. Lacking any idea of how scripts are actually written, he was merely expressing his ignorance, powerlessness, and superstition. I know a lot more about creative writing than Jack Warner did, but even I recognize that a text that remains frozen at the same word-count week after week is making no visible display of progress.

Hence the anxiety. Nothing beats the feeling of sailing ahead with prose that you know is good, that you know is telling your story, and doing so in close to the best possible way. At least, I assume that nothing beats that feeling. Not having actually experienced it, I'm kind of guessing.


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