Tag Archives: memoir

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….

Chapter 6

Once again we saw the Isles of Shoals as we headed out to sea. The rain was steady, but did not affect visibility. We hoped it would clear as the day wore on, and that the sun would work its way through the clouds. There was a mild wind coming from the west. Two hours into our trip the wind continued to increase in intensity. The water was choppy but it was still early so we continued to be hopeful for improved conditions. After another couple of hours the wind had increased again and so had the waves. By now they reached heights of six to eight feet and growing. By noon time a serious change of course was in order. We decided to head closer to shore to try and mitigate the deteriorating conditions. We were now south of Boston Harbor. Our thinking was that closer to shore there would be less “fetch”. I had learned that fetch is the area of open water over which the wind has to gather strength.

It wasn’t long before we realized it was time to find a place to pull in for the day. Fortunately we weren’t far from Plymouth, Massachusetts. I looked through the cruising guide  to see our options. There was the Plymouth Yacht Club, a marina and the town’s mooring field, all very promising. We traveled close to shore until we reached Plymouth Harbor. Upon entering the harbor, the waves died down. Duxbury Pier Lighthouse greeted us and I began to see lighthouses in a whole new way. Instead of being a pretty landmark, it was a sign of safety. With the aid of the lighthouse and the channel markers we worked our way to the marina. Tim radioed for a slip. None were available. Next try was the town’s harbor master for a mooring. That yielded a positive result and so we were safe for the night.

It was a brisk 40° out but the sun had finally made an appearance. Next on the agenda was getting Tigger to shore. That meant using Rose, the dinghy. We carefully lowered it into the water, keeping it attached to Little Prince with the davits on the swim platform. Once it was in the water it was time to set up the outboard motor. Tim lifted it off its mount and onto Rose. He adjusted the controls, put it in neutral and gave it a pull, nothing. A few more tries netted the same result. It was time to look at the manual. Being the proper quartermaster, I was able to retri

eve it right away. Tim was in the dinghy (still attached to Little Prince) and I was on the deck, manual in hand, and reading instructions when the Harbor Master came by.

“I see you with the motor and your wife with the manual and I’m thinking this could get ugly. Let us know if you need a ride to shore.”  With that, off he went.