(With apologies to A. Peterson’s On Editing a Novel series.)
“The home stretch” is a baseball metaphor, right? Far be it from me to be familiar with baseball metaphors, but I think this is where I am. In, on, or at least facing the home stretch here. Two-to-three thousand more words and I’m finished. Carl Akeley, who is dead, has to die, and then I have to show readers what his African Hall is like. Then, maybe, I need an epilogue at the pet cemetery in town, the one that doesn’t bring its animals back to life.
When you’ve been working on a nonfiction book for four years, reading hundreds of source texts and rereading a handful of source texts many, many times, it all starts to feel like this thing infesting your head. This tapeworm or something you need extracted. Because as the texts accrete and the time passes, unless you are a much more organized person than I am, the hard part is figuring out: okay, is this something I read, or something I heard, or something even I’ve just made up? If something I read, where did I read it? Did I take notes on it, or not? Where can I find it?
Where can I find it?
Continue reading On Finishing Up a Book I’ve Been Working on for Four Years: Part 1