Sunday, May 5, 2019


JANICE:  Among writers and artists, the acronym WIP stands for Work in Progress. I'm adding a new one, WIS, Work in Stall. I don't mean writer's block, which I don't believe in, and therefore do not suffer from. I mean a time when I say to myself, "I can't do this." Sometimes the problem is with plotting, the most difficult part of the process for me. Even though I never start writing without an outline, occasionally the cause and effect cycle breaks down in the middle of the story. Sometimes the problem is about writing a sequel as if there is no prequel!

My current WIP, Village Without Men, is for the moment a WIS with both problems. Notice I said "for the moment." Every successful writer knows you don't stop working just because you can't do this. No, you persist until you overcome. Until "I can't do this" becomes "Oh yes I can," with a rush of confidence.
Village Without Men is a sequel to my previously published Sophie's War, a Civil War story set in Comfort, Texas. Sophie is the daughter of German immigrants who settled in the Hill Country in the 1850s. Her father and many others in the area are Unionists in a state that has joined the Confederacy. Thus they are persecuted, men are hanged, cabins burned. But her father is especially endangered because he is the editorial cartoonist for a San Antonio newspaper and makes clear to all that he favors saving the Union. Sophie's goal and "war" is to convince her father to stop drawing anti Confederacy cartoons. To no avail.

Since a sequel must stand alone, I have to find a way to bring all that information forward without dumping it in the beginning. I have to sprinkle it throughout so as not to overwhelm the reader.

At present it is I who feels overwhelmed but not defeated! Please be patient while I figure out where to sprinkle information and how to gradually escalate cause and effect  to the climax. It's not easy but it helps enormously to have a critique group with the likes of Cynthia Levinson and Shelley Jackson. And it's incredibly satisfying when done.

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