Friday, April 29, 2011

Status of Two Works-in-Progress

So these are my two current (that is, I'm actively working on them) works-in-progress:

Documenting America, hopefully volume 1 of several, an historical/political non-fiction books

Essential John Wesley, a small group study, such as for an adult Sunday school class, of Wesley's writings. The title is a place-holder, and not necessarily final.

I am finished with Documenting America. I could upload it to the Kindle store tonight, with its imperfect, self-created cover. I was hoping to get some critique on it from the new writers group, but, alas, we ran out of time Tuesday. I don't really want to wait two weeks to get the critique and then upload it. This weekend is supposed to be rainy. Not much chance of getting significant outside work done. I think I will do the formatting and uploading Saturday.

The John Wesley study is in its infancy. The outline is done, including the addition I made today. One chapter is done, except for tweaks I might do. That chapter is Wesley's stand on slavery. Today I found two scholarly papers on the topic, read them, and will likely make a few changes to the chapter. A second chapter is well along, the chapter on Wesley's other political writings. I have the excerpting fully done, and have much marginalia in my copies to form the basis of the rest of the chapter. I anticipate I'll have it done by Sunday, and will be ready to think about which chapter to work on next.

I can already see that this will be a larger book than I at first anticipated, probably 100,000 words: half of them Wesley's, half of them mine. But it can't be helped. The project is too important to me not to do it in a way I think is right. I also think I will have a separate volume, much smaller, to serve as a leader's guide. I'm just beginning to think of some things for that now.

One thing not yet clear to me is if I will be able to work on this Wesley study continuously, or if I will have to take breaks from it. As I said a few days ago, the pressure to have it done for teaching around September 1st is off. I've probably got till the first of the year, possibly longer. But that still means I need to do two chapters very three weeks, or a minimum of 3,000 words a week. I'm not sure I can keep up that intensity that long. Plus, my novel beckons, as does volume two of Documenting America and a sequel to "Mom's Letter". Cursed day job!

So why am I writing this post? I've talked about these books several times, perhaps ad nauseum for some readers. I don't really know. Maybe it's to "clear my head", do a self-appraisal of where I am with my writing career, or at least to be putting this in writing as a sort of accountability. If so, I guess that's a good reason for writing.

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