Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas and novel to-do lists

Like everyone else, my to-do list is really long at this time of year. I have nothing wrapped, my cards aren't sent (heck, they aren't even written yet), my house isn't decorated and my tree isn't up.

To keep from being overwhelmed, I try to remember what I have done so far and do a bit more each day to prep for Christmas. I have made lists (and lost some), bought gifts and scanned in hundreds of old photos to make personalized calendars for elderly family members (this project sounds simpler than it is). I went to a concert, an office party and helped my Sunday School class choose a skit to perform. I got books autographed by author-friends to give young nieces and nephews. I baked a couple batches of cookies and haven't eaten them all yet.

In that same way, I need to remember what I have already accomplished in my pursuit of this novel. I changed the protagonist from a Sinti boy to a German girl who is a member of Hitler Youth. I rewrote 30 pages or so in first person and decided that was the correct POV. I spread my plot ideas out on long rolls of paper to help me visualize the structure of the story. I identified research questions and went to Munich to research the answers. And I wrote.

Like my to-do list of Christmas prep, I have a long way to go in writing this book. Maybe if I remember how far I've come, I can work on it a little each day and enjoy the journey.

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