{Carrie & Bruce & wee Kiki}

I’ve been away from home and in glowing excitement turmoil for three weeks: our daughter married, family visiting, a wee grand-daughter to look after while the new Mr. & Mrs. Sudds went on their honeymoon.


{My growing family, including a number who flew in from California.}

This has all been way more than wonderful (so wonderful!), but writing — especially writing fiction — requires dull routine, a daily perseverance.

I’ve been able to touch-base with the WIP almost daily through Cup of Work. This helps a great deal, but even so it’s never easy to come back to a work of fiction.

It takes days.

I begin by circling, like a dog settling down for a nap.

First circle:

Where to begin? A novel is an unwieldy beast, and mine is at a particularly unwieldy stage.

Forgive me a moment as I think out loud:

— I have 64-pages of new scenes. I need to sort out how these will fit in to the existing draft.

— I have a 367-page printout of draft 5.5. This needs to be read, edited and revised.

— I have stacks of research material to read.

— I have a 250-page Excel worksheet, an attempt to sort out the story’s plot points and themes (@ to my latest plot-system enthusiasm, Book Architecture; How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula by Stuart Horwitz). Like so many things in my life, this worksheet has spun way out of control.

— And last, but certainly not least: I have a deadline. Of sorts. I’m to touch-base with my agent in three weeks.


What can be accomplished in only three weeks?

I’m still at a structural stage with all this new material to incorporate, so a close read/edit of draft 5.5 is premature. A cut & paste edit comes to mind. The Excel worksheet analysis might be helpful, I think, but only if I go about it more systematically.

Second circle:

Might I tackle only the first 100 pages? This seems like a workable goal. I could use a bare bones Excel worksheet to establish the overall story arcs and themes, and then cut-and-paste.

Third circle:

So! How to write a novel when life is so full? I have a plan. This week: Excel. Next week: cut & paste the first 100 pages. Last week: a fast read & edit. Research reading at leisure.

And fuelling it all, the glow of love …


{Carrie and her girls: Ellie — don’t you love her choice of shoes? — and Kiki.}

Wee Kiki stayed awake at the wedding until midnight, and insisted on sleeping in her dress that night. “I want to go back to the wedding!” she said on waking the next morning.

We all do!

These wonderful photos are by Danielle Blancher (Danielle Blancher Photography).