Thursday, April 23, 2009

Handwriting or typewriting

I love the computer, I'm on it all the time. I'm also a really fast typist. But when it comes to writing a first draft of this book, I find it much better for me to write it out by hand. I think there are a few good reasons for that.

First, I like to be able to spread out my research and background papers around me when I'm writing. That way I can look up references, or remind myself to include that special point I want to write about.

Second, the slowness of the handwritten process allows me to slow down my thought processes and be more methodical. As sometimes the only exercise I get all day is jumping to conclusions, I find this enforced slowness very useful.

Finally, I like to lie on the couch and write. And though I see many people in many commercials with their laptops on their knees, I just can't do that. It's too cumbersome, and besides, it's a hassle to unplug the laptop. I prefer to leave mine in the office where it belongs. This also makes he handwriting process more like leisure, because the computer represents work to me.

Anyway, what I have is all my research and notes for each chapter in a file. When I'm ready to write that chapter, I take that file, re-read everything in it, then start writing. As I'm writing, I refer back to all the info, make further notes of what info I still need, and pull out stuff that I think should go into another chapter.

It really is quite a speedy process, because the chapter size is limited to everything that's in the file, so you don't write on and on and on and ramble (like this posting). It really surprised me that I was able to finish the first two draft chapters so quickly and gave me a lot of confidence that I would be able to finish the book in a timely manner.

However, each time I write, I always want to find out more about Lillian. I hope that I will hear back soon from some of the researchers, and they can shed some more light on the many gaps in Lillians tale.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Worldwide research

I am in contact with Sherry Coffey, who is writing a novel about Lillian. She works in the library at Athabasca University, and has won an Emerging Artist award to work on her novel (which was based on her thesis). To read more about Sherry, click here:
And thank you to Sherry for all her helpful emails.

I have also heard from a writer in France who has done some work on Lillian, and I look forward to hearing more about this later on in the week.

My work progresses on the Yukon chapter, extremely enjoyable to write, such interesting times, places and people.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Looking for Lillian

Well, I've got my research fingers out in a lot of archival pies right now. I've enlisted the help of some people in faraway places, in the hope that they can help me find a few more hints on where Lillian came from and where she went.

I've been following every lead, no matter how slim or how obscure. And sometimes these tiny glimmers of hope turn into surprising finds. Other times, they fizzle out like a sparkler in the rain.

I want to thank David in Ontario for the information on his father, it was great. And a huge, huge thank you to Peter in Hyder, Alaska for the thoughtful and well-thought out responses to my questions. I really appreciate the guidance and help.

I also want to triple thank the Quesnel Library's Inter-Library Loan system, what a great service! I've been able to access some extremely rare books through ILL, and this has been wonderful for background research.

Right now I feel I'm on the cusp of getting some great information, and hope that my insistent doggedness is not irritating too many people.

Although I'm still waiting for more information from Yukon on Lillian, I'm starting to do the first draft of that chapter this week.