I took a holiday from blogging while I finished the book and worked on a couple of other writing projects. for those of you who've been following this project blog (the writing of Wormwood) a note about the disappearance of the posts. This blog was set to display only the current month, so you needed to look in the archives for the posts in November, October, etc. I've changed the setting to display the maximum number of calendar days, but as time passes, the posts will continue to be moved to the archives. Go there for a look.
Now, back to business, catching up. I'm finished with Wormwood, although there is still some clean-up/fix-up to be done to the last couple of chapters--and Bill has yet to read and critique the full book. The book (one printed copy plus an e-file) isn't due until the end of March, so I have some time to work out the wrinkles and crinkles in the last chapters and write the end note on wormwood, the signature herb.
Turned out to be more problems than I anticipated in pulling the two stories together: the Shaker back story and the mystery that China has to solve in contemporary time. And I always have trouble with disposing of the villain at the end of the book, because I don't want the conventional shoot-em-up conclusion. But I lived with the problem for some weeks, until I was eventually struck by a bolt from the blue: you'll understand the full significance of that when you read the book. Which won't be until April 2009 at the earliest. Next steps: final cleanup, submission (end of March), revisions requested by the editor (sometime next summer, if any), copyedit (November-December), bound galleys (January 2009), and bound books (April 2009).
Writing log. Altogether, I've logged 95 calendar days on the project, 67 working days, and 87,000 words (which will probably be close to 70 working days and 90,000 words, when all is said and done). This book seemed to stretch out forever, primarily because I took time out for the blog tour and time out when my daughter came for a week's visit. We'll call this done for now, since I need to turn to another writing projects: getting the final text of the memoir (now titled Landscapes of the Heart: A Memoir of Marriage and Place) ready for the editors at the University of Texas Press, which will publish it in Fall, 2009.
Reading Note. Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it's an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.--Eudora Welty [I wonder if families tell stories any more, or do they leave storytelling to the television?]