Author Archives: Barbara Busenbark

Back to Work

The writing continues with fresh eyes, ears and nose. To give a reader a vivid picture it helps to include as many senses in the descriptions as possible. I had no idea when I started my journey with Tim that I’d be writing about it. The boat part yes, and I took notes, kept brochures and bought books to help write that part of our journey. The beginning part, our meeting and early sailing adventures, not so much.

Mayflower II

When we returned to New England for a vacation a couple of weeks ago I was able to re-engage my senses. Some of the vacation was spent revisiting places we’d been to before, our favorite places and some were to help with writing my book. One such place was Plymouth, Massachusetts to see the Mayflower II. When we arrived there by boat in 2018, the Mayflower II was in Mystic for rehabbing. Now all spiffed up it’s back in Plymouth Harbor and I wanted to see it. I was even more anxious to see the shallop.

Two Light State Park

What’s a shallop you ask? In doing research for my book I learned that large sailing ships, like the Mayflower and the ships that brought settlers to Jamestown carried smaller boats in their hulls. These smaller boats were in pieces and reassembled using pegs. They were used to bring people ashore and to explore the coastlines. The large ships drew too much water to get as close to land.

When I tried to picture the shallop from my reading I struggled with it, even with illustrations the I found online. A shallop could carry about fifteen men. That seemed like a larger boat than I imagined. The shallops also had one or two sails. Being able to see the shallop for the Mayflower II in the water was a treat for me.

The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath was wonderful and a great source of information. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks at Two Lights State Park refreshed my memory. I didn’t remember that sound being so prevalent and it was also a beautiful day to have a picnic there.

The combination of vacation time and research energized my efforts on Uncharted Waters. I don’t know if I will finish writing it by the end of the year but I’m trying. I’m going with good is better than fast but I also don’t like things dragging on forever. I now have a much keener understanding of why it takes so long to write a book.

Deadlines and Do-overs

My goal to finish this book by the end of the year may have been a bit hasty. I’m twenty-five chapters in, with 64,000 words written but still working on the re-writing and editing of the first five. I’m 97.3% sure I’m finished with Chapter one. But that’s also why I don’t think adhering to an arbitrary deadline is a swell idea. I’ll just keep on keeping on until I’m satisfied its the best I can do.

I think I was up to about Chapter 6 with the re-write but that’s now Chapter 9 because I backed up further to add in necessary detail all the way back to Chapter 1. With that being said, I don’t know when I’ll be finished.

I’ve learned a great deal being part of the Florida Writers Association and joining the Bradenton Writers Group chapter. Its a diverse group of people so the critiques bring different points of view. Because of joining during covid I started with having our meetings online. Now we meet in person.

The process with the writing group: post your piece of writing in a shared google docs folder, make multiple copies so other members can make corrections/notes, read your piece aloud at the meeting and then the critiquing begins. There is a 3000 word limit.

And speaking of length limits, I’ve also been wrestling with chapter lengths. That’s another reason I’m back to the first five chapters. There are a lot of moving parts when writing a book. Chapters need to end well so the reader wants to continue. Whenever I rearrange chapters the ending needs extra consideration thus, more time.

Yes, I’m learning a lot as I go, between reading memoirs, books on writing and the writing group. That explains why I had to back up and re-write my re-write. There’s also a memoir group I might look into joining. It does take time, and in the times I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. Trying to guess or predict when I’ll finish gets harder all the time.

Each chapter has a quote for a subtitle. I pick the quotes based first on the subject of the chapter but also on who is being quoted. The quotes are from my favorite poets, artists, authors, leaders and philosophers.

By way of a tease, (besides the picture at the top of the page) Chapter 1 is titled “Broken” and the quote:

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.

Ernest Hemingway

I have been on a Hemingway tear for a while now. “A Clean Well Lighted Place,” by Hemingway was recently recommended to me and while I was on Amazon “Papa Hemingway” popped up–Amazon really knows how to market. I had to have that one too. I had read it in high school for English class. That’s when I first fell in love with his work and the whole legend of the man.

Enough for now, maybe I’ll be able to give you a tease for Chapter 2 next time…..

Just for fun….