Sunday, December 31, 2006

The State of the Confederacy is Strong

This year closed out with a flurry of activity. To cap off December’s events, I emailed my editor at Johns Hopkins to update him on the completion of the profiles and the mailing of manuscripts. I’ve emailed him every six months with updates. If all goes according to schedule, this shall be the last one before the completed manuscript is turned in this February.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Profiles in the Mail

This afternoon, I mailed twenty-two copies of the profiles to the collectors who have contributed their fine images, and to others who have helped by providing information and guidance. These recipients were identified and contacted in October. Thanks to priority mail, I will make my goal of having the profiles delivered “before the end of the year.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Second Edit

The first round of editing consumed three weeks, and this round three days, thanks to a long, quiet Christmas weekend. I read aloud much of the manuscript to Anne, and made far fewer tweaks than in the first round. Tonight I printed out the manuscript and added the photographs, each placed in context with its profile. Even in this raw form — Word file and Photoshop prints from a standard copy machine — the powerful combination of word and image comes through!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Web Site

Today I began to think about updating the Web site. It is currently focused on the first book, and will need to be revised to highlight the new volume. Lots of work to be done here, but it will have to wait until after the manuscript has been sent to the publisher.

A couple weeks ago, I began work on a CDV photo gallery of Civil War-era images — both soldiers and civilians. It’s not focused directly on either book, but I think it will provide visitors with an idea of how aesthetically pleasing, and historically important, these images are in the realm of vernacular photography.

First Edit

Yesterday brought to an end a three-week period of editing, the first in a series of rounds which will sharpen the focus of the stories, check facts, and correct grammatical errors — and this is before I send the manuscript off to my publisher, which I plan to do in February. This round, and all the rest, follows a routine established with the first book: I read aloud each profile and imagine I’m telling the story to an audience. This usually happens in my favorite chair in our sunroom early in the morning. The “audience” is my faithful pug, Bella. As I read, I think about the flow of the story, the structure of the sentences and paragraphs, and cadence of the words. The manuscript is marked up accordingly.

This round took a week of mornings to read, and two more weeks to make subsequent revisions as indicated in the markup.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Printed Collection of Cartes

Today I finished preparing the digital scans of each carte de visite for production, and made, for the first time, printouts of all the images. I found it very satisfactory to spend time thumbing through all seventy-seven prints.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Landmark Day

On Friday, I completed the seventy-seventh of seventy-seven profiles for the book — truly a landmark day. This brings to a conclusion a more than year-and-a-half effort to locate images, research the lives of the soldiers, compile notes, and write their stories. This is also the beginning of an approximately three-month period during which I will read and reread each story from readability, grammar, and fact checking. I’ll also be sending copies of the manuscript (minus the front and back matter) to the twenty-plus folks identified earlier this fall.