Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Digesting Old Newspapers

No library trip for me today; more queries to go out (I swear, everything about the writing career is easy and/or fun except keeping stuff in the mail and reading royalty statements), spring has arrived, and once again I need to prepare for weekend archeology. But I also need to mull over my approach to the newspapers.

I took so many notes I hurt my hands transcribing them on Friday - it is important to transcribe promptly while I can still remember enough to decipher my handwriting. (Oh, the publisher and proprietor is named Finck, not Finch. Early transcribing doesn't always work.) Yet I barely read up to November 62. It'll take me forever to go through the whole war at this rate, and I know I'm making notes that interest me, but won't interest the character I'm trying to get inside. This leads me to wonder if I'm not doing it backwards; if I shouldn't sit down at the microfilm reader and turn into Di, in order to focus my research more, instead of waiting for her to emerge from the infodumps as characters generally do. This would mean a certain amount of time alone with a notebook, working out what she would read and what she would skip.

And how far inside of Diana Bonvillain do I need to get, given that the book is first person with a strong narrative voice emanating from Eleanor "Len" Hausman? Len's voice is the springboard for the work. I started writing her one day when I had an idle hour at work, and wrote two solid (and excellent) chapters before running out of my knowledge of what she would experience. Di has her real self well-buried, carefully controlling who she appears to be to each person she meets, and it is only at the climax of the book that Len will penetrate down to her real self.

I think that answers the question. If I don't know Di's real self, the climax won't work. Well, that'll give my brain something to work on this afternoon as I perform necessary manual labor.

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