Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A discrepancy and an epiphany

The snow is beautiful here today. Sunshine on six inches of new powder. Of course, I always think it is more beautiful when I don't have to go out anywhere in it.

Today was an excellent writing day. After going back to my research books last night reading, littering the pages with post-it notes and bookmarks, (I canNOT write in my books, I get ill at the thought of it.) and 'composting' ideas and scenes, I sat down this morning and made seven pages of detailed notes on a particularly intense section of the book. Working from these notes this afternoon, I wrote 3600 more words on the story and am about a third of the way through this particular battle scene. This has led me to believe the story might very well go over the projected 80K words, ranging closer to 85K before it is finished. I'm not worried about this, as I will no doubt cut and add during the editing process. The goal is to have a ms between 85-90K words when it's all done.

I've also discovered discrepancies in the historical record regarding the actions of former Governor and military appointee Henry Hastings Sibley. Was he appropriately cautious in his dealings with the Dakota in the uprising of 1862, or was he a political sycophant who wished above all things to avoid any military responsibility when things went wrong and wanted to reap the accolades when things went right? Sources differ on this, even, or especially eye witness sources. There seems to be evidence to support both ideas, but it depends on who you talk to and what their agenda is as well. The question is, what makes for a better novel?

But that wasn't my epiphany. Last night I turned to my husband and said, "I write novels."

He gave me one of those single eyebrow raised are-you-feeling-okay looks. He said, "Yes, I know."

I had to explain it to him. "No, I mean, I write novels. I no longer try to write novels, I actually do it. I'm almost finished with my fifth novel. I am a novelist." You see, I started out in fan fiction, and the first two novels are stories I took from my fan fiction writing and changed, morphed and groomed to be Christian romance novels. Then I tried my hand at writing two contemporary romance novels. Yesterday it occurred to me that I'm no longer 'trying my hand.' I don't try to write novels, I DO write novels. I had this vague idea that it was publication that made the novelist, but now I know. It is the writing that makes the novelist. A woman who has written five novels can firmly say, "I write novels. I am a novelist."

Sometimes it's the little things...LOL


  1. I write in books :D I highlight, write in the margins. And then I tear up the books and alter them! Are you cringing?

    Your epiphany is as crystalline as the snowflake graffic. Good for you for realizing where you are

  2. Whoever said publication makes the writer--a writer is someone who writes--gigantic PERIOD. Not that a little filthy lucre for all those hours behind the keyboard is something you should refuse!

    You are a novelist, I'm a pagist. Strange world, huh?

  3. Great epiphany! Five novels, WOW! How do you find the time? (You might have to blog about THAT sometimes.)

    Like CJ, I write in books too. I even highlight my Bible. AND I use post-its. However, I don't write in my fiction books...usually. You see, if it's not underlined, how will anyone know you've really read it?