Work in Progress~The Book of Vessels

img_20160531_223356527_hdrA couple of autumns ago, I began drafting a new novel. It’s a story, in part, about a girl and her book. In the story, the book is a manuscript, a sort of collective journal written in by the other women who have held her position. The entries stretch back into the past, chronicling a long history of triumphs and losses.

img_20160615_232825769When I sat down to write the novel, I realized I couldn’t start until I knew what was in the main character’s book. The book is so integral to the plot that I needed to know exactly what was in it. So I wrote that book, and then drafted the novel.

img_20160618_210314540_hdrI’ve spent the last couple of years focusing on revisions, getting another novel ready to submit to agents. After a long round of queries and submissions, I needed a break from the work of revision.

img_20160624_194823988Like many writers, I find it helpful–even necessary–to have creative outlets beyond writing. Things I dabble in, where the stakes aren’t as high. The manuscript~The Book of Vessels~has become that outlet for me. I’m in the first stage of crafting the manuscript, in the style of a medieval one, with different scripts for different scribes, and illuminations that comment on the text. I’m about a third of the way through this initial process. The next step will be to bind it. Afterwards, my plan is to go back through the manuscript and add marginalia and glosses from the perspectives of some of the later contributing characters commenting on the words of their predecessors. Finally, I want to distress the heck out of this beast, to make it look and feel ancient.

img_20160817_102439155It’s a bit unwieldy, and kind of exciting. It’s good to switch gears, to do something more visual than my usual writing work. I’m figuring it out as I go, learning about scripts and binding techniques, and enjoying stepping outside my comfort zone. There’s something very Zen about falling into a script for a while, letting its curves and lines smooth out the wrinkles in my thoughts.

img_20160727_132511157I have no idea what I’m going to do with this thing. Someone asked me recently, and I didn’t know what to say. This is a passion project, something to create for the sheer pleasure of the creation.

img_20160729_141359857What would you create if there were no stakes, no expectations?

10 thoughts on “Work in Progress~The Book of Vessels

  1. Squeeeee! Alas I only know how to bind folios. Single sheet binding will be new territory. But distressing sounds fun. Lol

  2. Brenna – this is so gorgeous! I actually exclaimed out loud several times as I was reading your post. How I hope this passion project gets to be appreciated by a bazillion people! Maybe even a gazillion! Love that you are so creative and that in taking a break from editing you do this – I just troll FB. :O)

  3. Hi Brenna: I hope you are well. I have a very bright and talented student ( an academically and creatively gifted sophomore) who is writing a YA fantasy novel, and I would love to put her in touch with you or even get you together. I have sung your (deserved) praises and have recommended that she subscribe to your blog. Her name is Sophia Colby. I would be willing to bring her to Staunton sometime if you think you could meet with her, or perhaps you could just correspond. Let me know what might work for you. Thanks. Andrea

    Dr. Andrea Rowland English Renaissance School 418 E. Jefferson St. (434) 984-1952 Charlottesville VA 22902

    1. Hi, Andrea! I would love to talk with Sophia! My favorite thing (after writing) is encouraging writers. Message me on FB and we’ll set something up. In the meantime, tell her that it’s a super-exciting time to be a YA novelist, and that there are lots of opportunities for young writers out there.

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