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On Writing

Spent about 16 hours yesterday with the results of my research into the friendship of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. What do I have? Masses of material! Now the writerly question/decision is–what to do with all that material?!? How to turn it into a clear, coherent, compelling (my 3Cs of good writing)nonfiction narrative??? How am I going to structure this book? That question is constantly on my mind. In my sleep last night I was remembering the structures of some of my other books–5 strand interwoven multi-layered structure for Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II, a topical chronology for Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial, a modified chronology for A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances Perkins. In an early post (8/7) I wrote about a structure I “saw”–“knitting something with a pattern, i.e. I’ve got two main skeins of yarn–ECS (I’m thinking she’s orange) and SBA (perhaps green) and I’ll be picking up stitches from other skeins as I go.” One of my tests of the viability of an idea is whether or not it sticks with me–that one is still with me. The ultimate test, of course, is whether or not I can implement the idea & this one isn’t there yet. So, back to work!

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