There’s an inverse ratio, I find, between working on a new draft of a novel and blogging. With the happy coincidence of Martin Luther King Day this Monday and my source of income being located in DC, where the university decided it was easier to close than deal with the insanity of requiring staff to navigate past inaugural events and protests, plus a relatively quiet week, I have focused every spare moment on The Vermilion Bird.
The good news is that I have thirteen solid chapters, eight of which have already survived the scrutiny of my invaluable critique group. A fourteenth is slowly unrolling under my typing fingers; with luck, I can finish it and get a sketchy form of chapter 15 out of the way by Monday, when work again returns full force. If I hadn’t needed to research the layout, appearance, and lifestyle characteristic of the early sixteenth-century Kremlin (on which, see “Fortress City”), not to mention the position of Tatars within and immediately outside the city, I could have made even more progress, perhaps to two-thirds of a novel instead of one-half.
The “bad” news—although it’s not really that bad—is that I can concentrate on the dialogue and actions of my imaginary people or detour to write a blog post. So this week I decided to settle on a quick progress report and save the good stuff for next time.
Happy reading, and—if you write—happy writing. Rest assured that I will return just as soon as I stop, in the words of my standard auto-response message, “chasing phoenixes in sixteenth-century Moscow.” In the meantime, you may want to check out the monthly “Books We Loved” post at Five Directions Press. Because you can never have too many books to read …
And if you missed last week’s interview for New Books in Historical Fiction, give that a listen, too. Three million viewers tuned in for the first episode of the Masterpiece Theater miniseries Victoria, and here’s your chance to find out about the history behind the program as well as a bit about life behind the scenes. All loads of fun, and it’s free!
Image: Ivan Bilibin's illustration of Prince Ivan catching the firebird, in the public domain because it was published before 1923, via Wikimedia Commons.