Friday, July 4, 2014

On Writing a History of the American Bible Society--Update #18

l to r: John Jay, Elias Boudinot, and Richard Varick in ABS boardroom in NYC
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Things are moving slowly on the American Bible Society project, but at least they are moving.  I had hoped to have the first chapter written by the end of June.  That didn't happen. It looks like I am going to have to work through part of the holiday weekend.  

I started writing chapter one today. My tentative title is "Building a Christian Nation: The Founding of the American Bible Society."  I think this title is too long, and I will probably change it, but for now it reflects the theme of the chapter.  The first paragraph of a chapter is always my biggest writing challenge.  I tend to fret over every sentence. It thus takes me way too long to write the first three or four hundred words of any project.  I managed to write about 250 words today.

I didn't start writing until late afternoon.  I spent the early part of the day outlining the chapter.  I tend to make extensive outlines of my chapters.  In this chapter I had to balance the narrative history of the founding of the ABS with the ideological, political, and religious ideas that informed the founders of the society. In order to outline effectively, I read through my notes and books and place quotes, secondary material, and the other information I gathered during my research into the outline.  If the outline is thorough, the writing of the first draft goes quickly.

I would like this chapter to run about 6000-7000 words. We will see what happens.  Stay tuned.