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Creating a Family Saga | FS8 | Holiday Slowdown

Updated on November 11, 2015

How and when I write...

The writer
The writer

Announcing a slower holiday writing pace

From time to time I like to share with my readers here on HubPages some of my thoughts on creating what has become quite an extensive ‘family saga’ body of work I call “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories. It has been a few months since my last such piece, in FS7. P.S. I have moved beyond the ‘moodiness’ of that piece… thanks to each of you! ;-)

Over the next couple of months, my output in the ‘saga’ will be reduced, I assume, because we have a number of family interaction periods that usually are very time consuming, as well as very enjoyable. Family comes first - as much as I love to write about family. Actual face time with grandkids, children, and extended family is very special, and particularly when you get to our age. Enough said on that. I may get out one piece a week, but maybe not. More on that as this essay continues.

As most of you realize, these stories in the ‘saga’ continue to move forward both in 1882 here on HubPages and in 1999 at The Homeplace Saga blog - see URL below. Each Friday I post a blog entry moving that 1999 story along. These stories build from the original novel of this work, “Back to the Homeplace,” set in 1987 with the Bevins/McDonald family. We have now moved out 12 years from that, and I hope to continue these weekly episodes during this period over the coming weeks. These episodes are roughly based on the premise of the “3 Threats” novel I had planned, and then scrapped. Now, they simply move the story ahead (but will also involve some ‘flashback’s to earlier days, as well). These will have priority over the coming weeks.

The novel that started it all... have you read it, yet?

Cover art from my first novel
Cover art from my first novel

During this pause, let’s review where we are in the 1882 stories in Oak Springs

Already published is the fifteenth episode of “The Kings of Oak Springs” third set of 20 episodes: EP55. This brings us near the close of the calendar year 1882. The next five episodes are planned to cover 1883, if possible and practicable. Also just published was episode FO13 in the “Meet the Folks… of Oak Springs” series - still set in mid-1882, where we got to learn more about the new Bevins family in town. This is an occasional episodic series that has been used to both introduce more dialogue and to look as some often ancillary folks in a little more detail. These may get less frequent as we move ahead… but we’ll eventually get to 20 episodes here, as well. [Each 20 episode set becomes a new ebook, for the future.]

The third current set of stories set in this time period is “McDonald Tales” - we most recently published episode MT15. There are five more episodes in this series to reach 20, as well. Here we are focusing on the McDonald family, in particular, with a little more detail than we do in the King family stories. The King family stories let us look at the McDonalds from a distance, and with some objectivity. In the McDonald Tales, we are examining the actions of the McDonald family members in some depth, more subjectively. We are approaching the marriage of William McDonald and Charlotte Crane. This seminal event will bring about a major change in our overall approach to these stories.

Just how this will occur is still under review and consideration. For a long time, I’ve thought I would use a “William’s Journal” approach. That may still occur, perhaps starting with his early-married life. This would continue into the 1930s, through the rest of his life span. The 1920-1930s period will be in the ‘flashbacks’ in the 1999 stories. There will be more discussion on this, below. The other dilemma I face is ‘how much detail’ to include about family life, and about community life, moving forward. These are critical decisions, and I’m not yet prepared to commit to a decision. This may take more attention than the next couple of months will allow me. Therefore, the pacing of the storytelling must necessarily be slowed. So, while I am not on ‘hiatus’ I am slowing down on physical output, to let the storyline stay in line with overall storyboard level planning to occur. I know the ‘key events’ that need to be ‘hit’ over the coming years. I do not know how much detail will be included in the surrounding stories that lead to and follow those ‘key events.’ Only time will tell.

The stories are all set in a rural community

Cattle in a pasture
Cattle in a pasture

The weekly episodes on the Blog: “The Homeplace Saga”

Through Episode 9, published last Friday, I’ve been able to simply use the drafts of the first few chapters of the “3 Threats” novel and adapt them, with only minor revisions, to this new approach at serialization of the story. Beginning this week, I must ‘wing it’ a bit, with new material added, to fill in some gaps in those original drafts. That takes time, and time is short with family visits occurring. That time will come out of previous Hub writing time. Simple fact. Therefore, we have the ‘slow down’ in Hub production from another perspective. I must keep up the story quality, in each published piece. So, that is where I am at, at the moment. I should be drafting the upcoming Friday post on the blog rather than writing this, I suppose. However, I feel an even stronger need to write this, get it published, and then move forward.

The story concept that there is a “William’s Journal” has already been introduced in the 1999 blog storyline. Exactly where it goes from this point is still in the development stage. I’ve been working with the concept for months and months, yet, the details of how, when and where, as well as some of the ‘what’ of it is still not clearly developed. Will his journal be a daily journal? Will it have detailed information or simply notes from his activities of the day? Will he include how he is interacting with other members of his family, or only within his own family? Will the journal be consistently maintained over those may years, or will it be only sporadic? My mother kept a diary over most of her adult life. I’ve read it. It did each, from time to time. How ‘realistic’ do I want to make William’s journal? These decision are needed, soon. Time is running out.

There are also other suspense issues that have been introduced in the first 9 episodes that I know generally where they are going, but again not the specifics. I’m waiting for my characters to continue to divulge this information to me. They have been a little slow, if not downright reluctant, to do that. Again, only time will provide those details, and I seem to be running out of time. Have you ever been in this circumstance? Of course you have. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Maybe they will help me get on with this set of problems - and some solutions! ;-)

It is Veteran's Day

From the 1880s...
From the 1880s...

Video Book Trailer

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    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 20 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Mary, I hope you enjoy the various stories of The Homeplace Saga. If you have not read them, they are new to you! Enjoy! Thank you for your comments!! ;-)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 20 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am with you about family and family time. I have not read your family saga before but you got me interested now. You are right. Such an extensive account but very interesting.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure, Sha! The characters have already begun to mill around, each taking their turn in developing the next phases of their stories. Even a couple of entirely new storylines are creeping into the equation, it seems. Another week or two, the words should flowing, then another respite, then more flow. It is working. Wishing a great holiday season to each and all of my readers!! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 22 months ago from Central Florida

      We all need to slow down from time to time, Bill. I'm sure when the holidays are over your characters will share their experiences and insight with you. Life dictates our pace. Some things just can't - nor should - be rushed.

      Enjoy your family time. I'm sure you'll find them relaxing and inspiring.

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Larry! ;-)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      Great read!

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. I enjoy the comments I get. BTW I now have the next four Friday blog posts drafted... just some finishing touches to complete. Feel much better now. Always love to see your notes arrive!! ;-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      I also like when your share your thought processes as you do here. That's a lesson in itself. Thanks!

    • Homeplace Series profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 22 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so much, Bill, for your continuing loyalty and support! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Quite an extensive family saga? There is no exaggeration in that statement. I don't know how you do it. I can't keep five or six characters straight. You seem to have hundreds. :) A job well-done each and every time you write, Bill.