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I Discover That Re-Writing Is Hard

Readers of my blog may remember that I went to a workshop on writing historical fiction. It was great: the lady who wrote 'Lost Boys' taught it, and she is both organized and generous with her time. She talked about having to look up the date of Ramadan in the year that she had set her book in, and it occurred to me that I mentioned at least one holiday whose date changed from year to year: Rosh Hoshanah. This is the Jewish New Year, and a pretty important holiday. In the book, it's when Frau Palden decides to take her son to another house when she was sharing one with the main protagonists. It's timing is fairly important.

When I had originally written the book, Google had not been the all-knowing eye of research that it would become. I had written Rosh Hoshannah as falling after September 22nd. After the workshop, I looked up the actual date of Rosh Hoshannah in 1945 on the internet. It turns out that I had placed the date 3 weeks later than the actual date, September 9th.


I am doing more research, and the more I do, the more I have to push the probable date of the draft's completion back. And it's not just the research that is casting shade on my old work. Time has matured my insights into my characters and their motivation. It has also made me realize that the original story was pretty thin. It was intended to set something up, and it consequently feels forced.

Of course, I hope that all this work will make something better out of the story. It is a little discouraging, though, to find out that you have a lot of work to do.

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