Anyway, to put an end to your suspense, the "it" I'm at again is research.
You see, I woke up this morning with the writing bug gnawing at me. For reasons I cannot remember, instead of working on "Mr. O'Brian" (a screenplay in the making), or "James and Burke", or addressing myself to a new project (I did have an idea for a fantasy story this morning--prompted from Genesis 49: 19), or even "The Yellow X" (I don't know, have any of you heard of that one? I started in way back when I was 14. It's been quite a while since I worked on it and I have some major changes I want to implement [not quite sure how do it]), I dug around and pulled out my as of yet nameless novel about Southern Reconstruction.
I had, up to this point had three "chapters" written, but lacked a real story vision. I roughly knew the history I want to tell through the novel and "sorta" knew the story, but it really wasn't clear enough to go anywhere. Therefore, I sat and did some very preliminary research. I scribbled and scribbled and scribbled. I think I wrote the same thing basically three or four times, but each time through I managed to narrow things down just a little bit.
I still am not one-hundred percent clear as to how the story details are going to play out (some of that will come with more in-depth research, I think), but I now know somewhat better the angles I need research. In addition to that, I did a little thinking and scribbling on the protagonist's character, personality, and history. I wrote a "Prologue" that kind of sets the stage for the rest of the story. It fills in a few gaps I felt were nagging in the first three chapters that I had already written. I do believe it helps to previously kind of "know" the character before you are actually officially introduced to him.
I wrote a fourth chapter, opening up some of the other characters a little bit more, explaining them and their relation to the protagonist. I have not quite started actually addressing Reconstruction policies yet. There are a couple of reasons for that.
Firstly, and I suppose most importantly, it is because I have a ton of research to do before I understand them well enough to freely converse about them.
Secondly, I believe a little stronger understanding of both the Confederate and Federal sides of the war will be helpful (thus I need to keep reading my assigned reading over here in the box to my left--and I will most likely have to purchase a few resources),
Thirdly, and the most inconsequential at this point, is that dialogue tends to be rather hard for me. I recently read, over here someplace (at least I think it was here), about recording yourself talking out your dialogue--or something like that. I think that might be a good idea...but as previous mentioned, I have to have a better grasp of the ideas before I could do that. Oh, by the way, I intend for a lot of the political aspects of the book to be brought out via conversation between two particular characters. That may or may not work. Thoughts, anyone?
Anyway, this is the fashion in which I have spent most of my day. I did not read either of my books which I am "officially" studying. However, I do not feel the day to be wasted and I think that with this freshly in my mind, it will help me to pick up certain things better during my studies. Interesting how things work out sometimes...I can do "double-duty" with my WBtS study here. :) ("Bedford" and this unnamed novel.)
Ah well....time for supper!