A Progress Report…

You know that part of a project when you’ve got about a billion different elements clanging about in your head demanding recognition and attention and to be top dog and you know all of them are probably important or essential but you can’t for the life of you sort out how to make anything other than goulash out of the whole mess–maybe a bit more paprika will help?  Well, it’s rather like that.

europe1815A break-through occurred on a day-trip with my rather ingenious and maths-minded daughter a bit ago, when I put forward my difficulty with all the research (no, I am not going to tell you how many tomes or how many languages…) and asked if she could see her way to organising it all for me.  She, being very whizzy at these sorts of problems, had three different solutions in about 30 seconds.  All of which were excellent.  (I hate that.  It’s so breathtakingly easy and she makes it all seem so obvious…)

So we spent several days together with me downloading the contents of my brain and the many books and journals into her magic notebook, which she then turned into a frighteningly efficient thing for cross-referencing as well as a series of maps and other such intellectual delights…we still have several volumes to go.

But it was at this point, when she looked at the pages and pages of notes she’d made, the outsize cast of historical personages (I hadn’t even mentioned the fictional additions…) that she observed, “No wonder you’ve had problems.  This is like a game of chess with twenty players!

“For heaven’s sake, you’ve got five separate armies on the move…”

And that pretty much sums it up.  (Okay, yah, there are a great many generals and staff officers with Russian and Prussian surnames, I admit that…)

But since then, since then–and even with the delicious manifold diversions offered by the Christmas season–progress has not only seemed possible, but has got underway.  Of course, no one is more astonished at this than self.  But there it is.

NPG 891,Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (Lord Castlereagh),by Sir Thomas LawrenceA new opening chapter has presented itself which makes brilliant sense of all sorts of things and which just popped out of the too many notebooks of research notes and I find myself in the unusual position of being quite positive, hopeful and even feeling a bit of the old Bennetts wit returning to the page…

So that’s me.  Yes, a trifle overwhelmed by the too much that I know, but with help gaining some sense of control over it all…and you know what that means, don’t you?  That means a book will dribble itself out of my thoughts onto the page and into your hands eventually.

So thanks for all the support, cheer, and encouragement.  It’s meant more than you’ll ever know…

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

[do follow me on Twitter: @mmbennetts ]

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14 comments on “A Progress Report…

  1. cavalrytales says:

    Five armies? Flippin’ ‘eck – I have enough trouble with two. That’s not counting the Portuguese, of course, who didn’t really have one, and Spanish who had about six which did b** all most of the time.

    She doesn’t fancy organising my stuff, does she? 😉

    • M M Bennetts says:

      Yah, five armies, and that’s not counting the regiments from the smaller countries which switch sides mid-battle and things like that…

      I’ll ask if she’s free…*wink*

  2. Fantastic stuff Bennetts – so pleased for you 🙂

    PJK xxx

  3. Nancz says:

    How ’bout loaning me your daughter for a month??? Wisconsin gets lovely snow. 😉

  4. It’s nice that you’ve taken it upon yourself to breathe life into the complexities of massive troop movement – from all sides, ,ore or less at once. It’s even nicer that your daughter has been able to create some sort of master blueprint. So this sorts the historical background, and now your fictional characters can really get going, right? Looking forward to making their acquaintance – how much snow do you need to get it all in order?

    • M M Bennetts says:

      It’s not so much the snow, but the log fires in the hearth and me sat beside it that gets my head and words in order.

      As for making their acquaintance, the new book is a follow-on from Of Honest Fame, which is a bit of a follow-on from May 1812. The first two books are stand alones, really, and don’t require each other to make sense, but OHF ended where it did, while at the same time needing a follow-on as I quickly learned from my readers (whom I love very much).

  5. Andy Millen says:

    Five Armies! you can’t edit those down sadly. In order for Staymaker to be a) Writeable, and b) readable, I had to slim down the cast list and involve my two main ones, Tom Kingsmill and William Ferial, in a little bit more than they actually were! The problem with sticking to history, esp on the scale you are writing, is the sheer number of players in the game – and you can’t just lose an army or two down the back of the sofa – A reader will spot it, and you will be villified for it!
    Good luck juggling.

  6. Katherine Pym says:

    And to whom will you dedicate the final product of this work…. ? 🙂

    • M M Bennetts says:

      Dedications are funny things…I believe the books dedicate themselves, in a way. May 1812 was dedicated to the Best Beloved. Which I hadn’t planned when I started writing it. And Of Honest Fame was dedicated to the fallen of the Napoleonic wars…and I certainly didn’t plan that! So I won’t know until I know–if you see what I mean.

  7. Rappleyea says:

    I have (and have had) the utmost faith in you, and now in your brilliant daughter. Ain’t it grand when a right-brainer and a left-brainer get together?!? Beautiful music, or in this case, prose occurs.

  8. Let’s hear it for smart daughters, M.M.

    I definitely need a better system for organizing my research the next time around. Perhaps your daughter does consulting work??

    All best for 2014.

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