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I always chastized Bob about writing his book, well I have started writing mine

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I will be writing a historical novel which is based in 1832 during the Blackhawk war. I have been a life long history buff, and have started and stopped on my outline for years.

It will describe frontier life in Northwest Illinois when white settlers were beginning to homestead the Northwest corner of Illinois pursuant to a treaty which the native Americans once again were bamboozled into giving up their ancestor's land.

It will focus on a real life massacre during the time of the Blackhawk war where 14 were massacred and butchered, but the Sauk Indians had taken two younger girls as their prisoners. It will describe their ordeal, and the negotiations to get them back alive. I am having a great deal of fun doing the historical research and have began printing the history which will frame my total fiction into an interesting read.

Bob always said he was going to write that book, well I have actually begun, and hopefully I will not suffer Bob's fate of dying before he could finish.....so many unwritten books.

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I have so many outlines that it is hard to get started. When my wife and I first were married we traveled from a suburb near Chicago to a rural community in Northwest Illinois where my wife grew up. On our trip we we would use a state route which went through many small towns and often went miles and miles without seeing anything but a farmhouse and cornfields. Well, we saw a for sale sign on a wooded parcel next to a creek which was visually stunning. We called the people and they were willing to sell us the parcel on a contract sale which was like a hundred bucks a month for five years.

On the parcel in the back was some ancient cabin which had the steel frame of a Model T vehicle. We just planned to build a get away place so we did nothing with the old collapsed cabin. Then one of our farm neighbors stopped. He was about 85 years old and had to tell us the story of this parcel. When he was about five years old he would be taken by his father to the old cabin which was owned by Indian Joe. Joe was a native American whose mother did not leave Illinois from Paw Paw, instead some local farmers allowed the mother and young child to stay when ordered to leave. This was approximately 1838. So when the farmer was about five Joe was in his late sixties, and would entertain kids with snakes he had. In the 1930s the state highway came to Joe's cabin next to the creek and people in one of the small towns took him in when he was in his late eighties as his story was told his fame grew. So twenty miles south of this parcel was where the famous massacre took place and those two girls were kidnapped. The challenge is that I want to embellish the Joe story as a lead in, but have recently found a better lead into the actual historical month which the novel will cover.

The truth is that writing is hard work when it actually must make sense.

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If you're serious about writing this, get yourself a top notch editor.

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When I wrote my thesis, it was chaos. It is one thing to have a general theory or plan. It is quite another thing to execute on that plan with a well written document. I recently when throwing out stuff as we continue to simplify and downsize, and stumbled upon my thesis. It was poorly written, I think my footnoting was woefully inadequate, and in the end mediocre. At the time, I had spent two weeks in a hotel room spreading all my books and notes throughout the room as I put together the final draft and sent it to a typist as this was well before the personal computer. If I could have had an editor, I would have started all over. I did my oral defense, and my thesis was accepted and I graduated with my MA looking to be a professor as I began working on my Spanish as a PHD required two languages or some computer proficiency. In three years I was working for Borg Warner Corporation, had abandoned teaching and had entered the business world with a new career. Poor writing is easy to produce, within the mediocrity was some very good stuff, but I lacked the patience and maturity to start over.

The reality is I will die before finishing the same, but on Tuesday my wife and I will begin visiting historical sites in the Blackhawk war. We will go to two sites and get a feel for the land. She has been urging me for years to write, but I always knew how poor my thesis was written despite its academic acceptance, it lacked flair and true new ground. I fully expect to stall on this try and realize that I have no interest in another pedestrian effort.

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We have some neat little memoirs from several of our long gone relatives. I think your time would be better spent writing of your life. I know your grandchildren on would appreciate it... and I bet you'd enjoy writing it more.

Nobody cares about your droning on about tedious shit except us. Rolling Eyes

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Go for it. Few things are more rewarding than writing. I do a lot of it (horror short stories, mostly) and working out plots and building characters changes the way you see the world after a while. Plus, it helps you fall in love with the language, and even changes the way you read. After you do a lot of if yourself, you start to read like a mechanic, seeing how writers put things together... it's good mental exercise, I totally recommend it. You absolutely will not regret it. Smile

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2seaoat wrote:When I wrote my thesis, it was chaos.  It is one thing to have a general theory or plan.  It is quite another thing to execute on that plan with a well written document.  I recently when throwing out stuff as we continue to simplify and downsize, and stumbled upon my thesis.  It was poorly written, I think my footnoting was woefully inadequate, and in the end mediocre.  At the time, I had spent two weeks in a hotel room spreading all my books and notes throughout the room as I put together the final draft and sent it to a typist as this was well before the personal computer.  If I could have had an editor, I would have started all over.   I did my oral defense, and my thesis was accepted and I graduated with my MA looking to be a professor as I began working on my Spanish as a PHD required two languages or some computer proficiency.  In three years I was working for Borg Warner Corporation, had abandoned teaching and had entered the business world with a new career.   Poor writing is easy to produce, within the mediocrity was some very good stuff, but I lacked the patience and maturity to start over.

The reality is I will die before finishing the same, but on Tuesday my wife and I will begin visiting historical sites in the Blackhawk war.  We will go to two sites and get a feel for the land.  She has been urging me for years to write, but I always knew how poor my thesis was written despite its academic acceptance, it lacked flair and true new ground.  I fully expect to stall on this try and realize that I have no interest in another pedestrian effort.

Do it!

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We just got done hitting some of the historical markers and walking some fields where significant events happened. We will visit north of Ottawa Illinois where the white settlers were massacred and the two young girls were kidnapped this weekend. Today we visited a historical marker set in 1930 showing where the first white fur trader had built his cabin in 1820. Across the river was an indian meeting place and encampment, and where we were today is where Chief Blackhawk and a band of about 400 warriors and squaws reentered Illinois to gather support from native american tribes who were being forced across the Mississippi.

It is exciting to write. I have written opinion pieces in Newspapers for fifty years with my first being while in college. However, the one thing over the years is that I am able to recognize bad writing. As I am going through old yearbooks, I see that my classmates notes in my yearbook, never talked about my writing, but talked about me as the "great debater".

I had forgotten that I had won a contest put on by the weekly reader to test freshman in high school across America as to their knowledge of current events. I read four newspapers every day, and used to live for Royko whose writing style and stories captured me as a child. So when the testing was done, I do not think I missed a question so I was shocked at the end of the year assembly I was called to the podium and awarded a national award called the Glen palmer medal as I thought the testing was silly and the questions too easy. My yearbook that year which I have been reading as I near the end, was filled with comments about Mr. Current events and the great debater.....yet, I was not as strong in my writing skills which were usually lazy and tended to do the bear minimum. So now if I can capture my verbal skills in my writing, maybe I will get lucky and actually finish this book.

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WRITE THAT BOOK!!!
WRITE THAT BOOK!!!
WRITE THAT BOOK!!!

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