Having a hard time advancing with my book – Do I know what my book is really about?
Four years ago I decided to write a biography. It is a biography of a Red woman. At the moment I’d rather keep her name secret. It is my first attempt to write a full-scale book. The first few years were devoted to research, which I enjoyed. I found out many previously unknown stories about my heroine, contacted archives, universities and met people who had known her and visited places where she lived.
About 18 months ago I started to write. I enjoy writing just as I had enjoyed doing the research. I like imagining my heroine and her life. But most of the time writing is difficult and exasperating.
First of all, I had to decide what my book was going to be about.
When I asked myself this question for the first time, I thought it was easy and even ridiculous. Of course I knew what my book was going to be about. Then I realized that, in fact, I wanted to write about everything in the life of my heroine, so much I found her story interesting and compelling. I quickly understood that writing about everything was impossible I had to choose an axe for my biography and select information I knew about her and which suited my purpose.
Well, one-and-a-half years after starting to write, I’m on my fourth draft and I’m still debating the issues. I know many details about my Red woman, she has been a part of my life for the last four years and I still do not know why I am writing about her. Shall I focus on her secrets? On her role in the history of the 20th century? Or on why she chose to live her life the way she lived it? I finally decided to write on – what it was that I found interesting about her. I also decided to describe my research, which included most amazing stories, making it a part of the narrative. It took me one-and-a-half years to get here. I do not know if this is an unusually long amount of time or if other writers also have a difficult time deciding on the scope of their books, but I’m glad to finally have one.
Once that part of my work was done, it was time to focus on the outline of the book.