Progress Report #92

There’s been a big change in my book project—one that’s been a long time coming.

I’ve always described  Street Song as the story of my fifteen years living on the street. I thought that sounded intriguing. And it really did happen. But my actual work has always pushed, on its own, in a slightly different direction. The focus has been on the chain of events that led me to the street and then my first year and a half there. That was the most eventful period. Those last thirteen and a half years would read more like Waiting for Godot. Because of my persistent description of the story as those fifteen years, I’ve been struggling to figure out how the hell I was going to compress events enough to write this book without it taking up the rest of my life. A week ago, the solution finally stepped forward: Stop after that first year and a half on the street and cover the other thirteen years and a half in a single chapter. There was no struggle. It was clearly the correct solution. The change lightens my load considerably and it makes the book much tighter. I’ve done all the research, so if Street Song did well enough that there was real interest in those thirteen years of quiet observation and waiting, I could still write that book. But not now.

I’m still putting together the package (sample chapters, outline, and other material) that my agent will be taking around to publishers in search of a contract. I’m two-thirds of the way through the outline and have one more sample chapter to finish. Deadline: April 1st. I’m quite exhausted, dreadfully exhausted, but I see what needs to be done. And it will get done.

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4 Responses to “Progress Report #92”

  1. Tim Mueller Says:

    Work with the knowledge that it is truly worth it. It is obvious that this is truly a massive undertaking, not something for the timid.

  2. rainnnn Says:

    Good luck with it. I’ve noticed when writing, that often the way becomes clear. Sounds like yours has

  3. Margaret Benbow Says:

    “The way becomes clear…” Yes. The change you describe makes so much sense.

    Are you going to offer individual chapters for publication in magazines, before the whole book is published?

    • markbittner Says:

      When I started the project, my agent told me to keep an eye out for sections that might interest a magazine, the idea being, of course, that it might attract the attention of a publisher. But I fell into writing the book at one level across each draft. Nothing was polished. It’s only here at the end that I’m polishing. I need to go straight to publication. So the answer is probably “no.”

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