Elaine Forrestal

Resting the manuscript

Examples of home-made furniture used on the Goldfields in the 1890s

Clara has been resting for almost three weeks! Now, with the big celebrations of Christmas and New Year behind us, I am looking forward to focusing on her story again.

The intensive work I did on the manuscript after my research trip to Coolgardie in mid November has allowed me to give the story a rounded-out shape that I can work within. There is so much to tell about Clara that it has been difficult to decide what to focus on, and what to leave out. Once those decisions had been made, however, it was necessary to take a step back and try to gain some objectivity. I was lucky that Christmas preparations and family commitments intervened and forced me to let the manuscript rest for those three weeks. Now I am ready to read the text with fresh eyes, as if I had never seen it before. To help with this necessary process I print out the manuscript, still in its rough state, and carry it into another room, away from my computer. I try to read it straight through, like a novel. I do make notes along the way, but I try to keep them very brief so as not to interrupt the reading too much. After this period of reading and thinking I go back to my computer and do a thorough, line by line, edit. When that is done the manuscript will be ready, for the first time, to be seen by other eyes than mine. Who knows how long that will take? But it will certainly be a major step towards turning all those scattered notes, anecdotes, paragraphs and Chapters into a real book.

Happy New Year