Wednesday, August 3, 2011

what I'm writing: early morning report from the trenches

Summer vacation is fun, of course, but it's also the hardest season to find time time to write.  In July, Noah had summer school and camp, so I actually had more time to write than during the year.  But now we've entered into the long hot stretch of August and early September.  I've been hard at work on a new novel for about a year now, about the Civil War hero, Robert Smalls.  It's been great fun and I'm getting close to finishing a very rough (practically unreadable to anyone but me, but that doesn't really matter, it's just getting the story and structure down that counts for me at this stage).  It's a bit longer than I usually write--I'm at about 120,000 words, or somewhere around 400 pages.  Just two more chapters to go.

This means that as of this week, my writing time has shifted to 5am.  If I set my alarm for 5, I can be at work at my desk by 5:08am, and get in about 2 hours.  (I used to get up early all the time to write when the kids were little, but I'm spoiled now that they're in school.)  Luckily, I have an outline and most of the research is done, though thanks to the internet, there is no hour of the day when my attention might not be drawn by a little bit of last minute research (like the range of a 20 pound Parrot Rifle (1,900 yards) or a 9-inch Dahlgren).  My goal is about 1,000 words a day, though closer to 1,500 would make me ecstatic.  (Yesterday I wrote 600 words and was grateful.  Today it was 1,400.)

With any luck, I'll finish this draft by the end of August, and then can get back to revisions of my new play, Flight, while this project settles for a month or two.  (I figure it'll take me as much as a year to revise the novel to a point where it might be ready to be submitted.)

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