The Blog’s Gone Dark

I have not posted here since an outing in February to a wonderful dramatization of the Bronte sisters’ life. I am not keeping up with my reading list  (although I do  so on Goodreads). I started another #100daysofwriting challenge and quickly began forgetting — not to write, I never forget that — but to take a daily picture and post it on Instagram.

Feckless though I am, it struck me it might be fun in retrospect to have had some record here of the progress of the novel I imagine myself to be writing. Though it may come to nothing (the novel-diary plan, I mean — the novel will come to something, though hard to say what), mere risk of failure is not enough of an argument against. So here goes, in hopes that it can encourage others as much as myself.

I got a half-baked notion to write about the Brontes back in 2013, though I did not form any resolve until 2017,  also an alarmingly long time ago. I began reading books about them, as one does, and faffing about trying to write openings. My time at a residency in Minnesota last February, when I had nearly two weeks to do  nothing but think about the Brontes and go for walks in the cold, was a huge step forward. Since then I have made many small steps forward and even more sideways. I came up with a title! I changed the tenses and waffled about what person to write in! I wrote outlines; I wrote scenes; I learned to use Scrivener.

I would estimate I have written 80,000 words, which means little unless you know how many of them are useful, and I don’t. I keep thinking it should be easier to write novels than this; that I am going about it all wrong and everyone else knows something I don’t.

Today, though, I sat down and tried to write another outline, knowing a little more than the last time I tried to write one, a few months back. And this time it made more sense, which resembled progress. “Armature” was the word that kept coming to me. It’s one that’s been kicking around in my brain ever since reading an obituary of Toni Morrison, which mentioned that a real-life account in an old newspaper provided the “armature” for Beloved. Though sounding strikingly structural, almost clinical, especially for a novel like that, it made sense: Structure does not exclude creativity. It allows it.

This amazing thing by Alicja Kwade will be on the roof of the Met until Oct. 27

I have an armature! Armed with my armature, I will arise now and go forward into the dark unknown.

But at least the blog won’t be so dark.  And I love the dark. Lots of things are at their best in the dark: moonlight, ghosts, firelight, fireflies, uprisings, to name but a few.





9 thoughts on “The Blog’s Gone Dark

  1. Good luck with the writing process. I have absolutely no idea how you or anyone manages to write. It seems to me to be a very brave thing to do and I am very much awe inspired at all that you, and other writers like you, do. And I look forward to hopefully some day reading another wonderful novel penned by you :)))


    1. Thank so much for your encouragement. I don’t understand how people write books either. I continue to be amazed by your powers of reading and blogging, and your generosity in sharing your critcism. You’ve read more books in a year than lots of people do in a lifetime.


  2. Thank you for laying bare your writing process. For admitting it can be an intuitive creature rather than simply a calculated system of plot advancement and character building, and for acknowledging the back and forth nature of the writing process, where gaps of months and years are not unusual. It gives one hope!
    And also, thank you for letting us know that you have grappled with, and have learned how to use Scrivener. It’s a wonderful program, but watching all those video tutorials takes time, doesn’t it?
    And lastly, thank you for ‘The Jane Austen Project’. It is one of my very favourite books. It is a gem.


    1. Elizabeth, thank you for your kind words.

      I have to confess I watched only about half of one Scrivener video, and I am sure there are many powers Scrivener has that I have not figured out how to harness, like how to label things and move them around on the “corkboard.”

      What I like best is the distraction-free window, which I’ve figured out how to put an image behind. I have one of the moors near Haworth!


  3. Good luck with your writing. I adored the Jane Austen Project and the co-worker I loaned it too is also loving it. Needless to say I’m excited by the prospect of a tale about the Brontes from you 😃😃


  4. May you find all those marvellous bright things and many more on your journey into the dark unknown. It’s lovely to hear about your progress and I’ll look forward to reading more. Congratulations on this stage, and best wishes for the adventure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.