Saturday, August 14, 2010
Apportioning of Responsibilties
Today the first book arrived that I ordered to use as research for the major subject area of our novel (sorry for the obfuscation, but we don't want to reveal the subject area of our novel just yet). There are only three books written on the people that will form the basis of our novel, and this is one of them. Actually, I use the word "book" loosely, as it is merely the bound published version of one man's master's thesis spanning all of 79 large font pages. I devoured the book in two hours (it even taking that long due to long comments that I wrote in the margins).
Michelle & I have decided that she will write the novel based on the chapter outlines that the two of us wrote jointly. (I will write the prologue and the author's note, however.) It's a bad idea to have more than one cook in the kitchen, so to speak, and it might just get muddled if we tried to trade off chapters. This has left me feeling like I do not have much to offer at this point, beyond editing and giving more ideas along the way. However, reading this book has shown me what an incredible undertaking it is to do research for a novel, even if there are only three books published on the subject area. We've decided that I am going to compile a file of all of the research for the novel (locations, peoples, etc.), as well as write what Michelle refers to as a lexicon of our world. Basically I am going to compile a description of all of our characters as well as their culture, etc. as a reference for our own use. Luckily I'm really excited about the subject area, so this shouldn't be difficult, if still time consuming.
Speaking of how to apportion my time, it's going to be really hard not to neglect my PhD studies. I feel obsessed with this world that we're creating. Today as I was reading the first book constituting the body of our research, I found myself writing in the margins things like, "No, that's not how they would see things. They see things like ___________," with the blank consisting of a long explanation of the inner-workings of our characters' mindset and culture. It's truly amazing how a part of our characters' world I feel. I feel like I've lived their lives, breathed their breaths, cried their tears. OK, that's melodramatic, but I honestly feel that way. I guess that's the way that an author should feel, right? Is that what I am now, an author?
I just wish Michelle didn't have to go back to Missouri and we could lock ourselves away for a month and knock this thing out. It's probably best that we'll have more time to mull it over, though. Is it wrong that I'm already thinking about the responses I'll give to Terry Gross when she interviews Michelle & I about our overnight sensation of a novel? Pipe dream maybe, but even if the American public doesn't love our novel, I already do, and that is the first step, right?
Posted by Katherine Ernst at 8:09 PM