Monday, September 21, 2015

Finally Figured Out Why Progress is So Slow

Yes, it's true fiction-writing these days is mostly confined to a day (or two) - the actual writing part, I mean, not the mental writing and note jotting.

It's excruciatingly slow progress for most of the chapters in Before the Blood, which has left me wishing for ways to speed it up.

Then I had this "aha!" moment while working on a scene Thursday afternoon. It won't fix the problem, but it did provide much-welcomed insight.

It's not overall lack of time that's ultimately slowly my progress and dampening the muse. It's the research, not the overall research, but the picky little research that's needed as I write a scene.

Consider a nineteenth century Thanksgiving potluck in the basement.

1) What might be under those dishes, not just for the time period, but for the region? Would a remote area of northern Michigan around 1870 have potatoes? Apples?

2) If food is brought already prepared, how is it kept warm during services?

3) The "furnace" was upstairs. Was the basement heated?

4) So if the men are passing around the alcoholic beverages, what are they drinking?

5) Entertainment? What kind?

6) And let's not forget some authentic text for the service itself, for atmosphere, if nothing else.

And these are just the ones that come to mind at five a.m. Monday morning,

Furthermore, everytime I stopped to browse, I got sidetracked into something interesting and only remotely related. And another hour would pass.

BUT, it's worth it.

Last night, I sent about130,000 words to Sarah for a beta read. As I scrolled through the chapters I'd composed over the last year, I was amazed at their depth: in setting, time, character development and voice, plot.

Plodding along on the first draft road is tedious and laborious, but, oh!

Oh, the progress, the satisfying, exhilarating progress!

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