Friday, August 24, 2018

There Goes Summer

I am in that transitional time of year, when summer "ends" because school is about to begin.
I don't regret the passing of the season because I am not a hot weather person. I love cool, crisp autumn days. What I will miss is the sense of freedom that summer has brought since I was a child. I may be the teacher now but I still feel the same joy in May when the last class ends and the same longing for just a few more weeks of  vacation when it's time to go back.  It's always takes a month or so to get back into "school mode".

That said, it isn't as if I took the summer "off". I used the three months to do research and write. I finished my first draft of my nonfiction book on dress and appearance except for some tinkering I need to do before Monday. I finished a short story I promised to contribute to an anthology and sent it off to the editor. I'm working on the other short story I need to finish before the end of the month. And I can finally see the shape of the 1939 book.

And -- picking up on the discussion we've been having here -- I resolved my concept versus character dilemma. I did that today. This afternoon. I realized I need a prologue. Not a first chapter. An honest to-goodness prologue that sets the stage and provides context. I'm going to do that with a prologue spanning a week in the lives of three real people -- Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. What they were doing that week in February foreshadows the events and issues that are about to have a major impact on my fictional characters. I wish I had realized this a month or two ago instead of spinning my wheels trying to figure out how to introduce the main characters and also provide that context.

On the other hand, I did get to know the characters better as I was trying different points of views and experimenting with different beginnings. So the time was not wasted. I just wish I had more summer vacation writing time. But the looming first day of classes forced me to launch my August clean-up at home and in my office at school. I found some notes to myself that were really useful buried under piles of papers and books.

Three days and counting. But I'm going to make the most of what's left of my summer -- an afternoon off to read a book, a nap on Sunday afternoon, and some work on my website to get up those discussion questions that I didn't do the first time around for the reissue of my second Lizzie Stuart book, a Dead Man's Honor. I may even get the new shower curtains hung. 

And come Monday, I'll remind myself that it's a brand new (academic) year full of possibilities.

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