Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Project X and Xeroxed!


I remember putting my face close 
to the glass plate in wonder
and pushing the button.
What image would appear?
My boss pulled me away 
from the new and very large xerox machine: 
 "You don't know what that . . .
machine will do to you," he said.
I wish the incidental exposure 
to that bar of light 
was the worst that happened then.
My home office now sports
a desktop photocopy machine.
The bar of light yet moves across a glass plate.
but I have covered it over
with a bright Guatemalan weaving for
I have learned how to use the cloud.

DL Hammons asked writers today if they have a PROJECT X, that kind of nagging project that we're not currently working on but that we may write  . . . someday. The project that both inspires  and scares us, that challenges our skill and vision, that one day may take us where we haven't been before.

I have four such ideas in various stages, each one would take me in an entirely different direction. If Years of Stone is finished by June (yes!), then one of these ideas will move to the forefront. So, which one? I truly cannot decide. 

Should I finish this trilogy with Rivers of Stone (volcanoes, Hudson's Bay Company, Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Scots in the 19th Century)? I've got a very rough outline, about 20,000 words of a head start (and a pile of books). 

Should I finish Mothers Don't Die which tells how a woman survives being kidnapped by a serial killer? Here I'm working with a first rough draft of about 70,000 words. Have I learned enough to finish this story?

Or I could write a story about how how the Bayeux Tapestries came into being (royalty, romance, religion, and the big "M" -- mystery). I visited the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris and came away with an entirely different interpretation, based on what I saw there and then later the tapestries at Stirling Castle in Scotland and at the Cloisters in New York City.

The last idea that won't go away involves a small-town quilter who discovers a murder. Did I ever mention that I quilt?

Just as DL Hammons asks, I'm wondering too. Do YOU have a Project X that won't go away? I know I have to decide, but if you comment, which of my four projects appeals most?

Read what others have written for NaPoWriMo and the A to Z Challenge.


  1. Interesting question you've posed, Beth. I wonder if any two of these could be combined. Say, Small town quilter discovers a murder while on tour and visiting the tapestries? Could she piece the mystery together and include some of the historical points of the tapestries?

    You'll have to excuse me; it's now 5;30 AM and I've been awake since 2:00. Got some writing done, though. xoA

    1. Hello, Annis. Thank you for a great suggestion. Now you've got me thinking. I haven't done a contemporary story for a while, but this sounds intriguing. But your writing so late at night/early in the morning says your story is moving right along. Can't wait to learn more. Beth

  2. Enjoyed the blog this morning, Beth. What I remember most about the first Xerox machine on the job I took when the kids were old enough for me to go back to work is that it caught on fire almost daily. Of course, that could be because my first client was a big oil company involved in a federal law suit. Over 185,000 pages to unstaple, copy a file at a time, and restaple, returning to the appropriate file in the right order. Aaarrgh!
    As you well know, we quilters call those Project X's "UFOs." The one that appeals to me most is "Years of Stone," and second the one about the Bayeaux Tapestries.
    Even though Ghost Walk, Crystal Blue, and Skullduggery are still hanging the rafters, I restarted George and Sophia yesterday, with seven new chapters from George's side of the story.
    Neither the Project Xs of writers, nor the UFOs of quilters are ever quite finished. Oh, and of course the Double Wedding Ring still lies fallow, along with unnamed others. LOL!

    1. Oh what brainless work we used to do. I can't imagine 185,000 pages to unstaple and reorganized. Yuck! Reminds me of the time I gave a month notice because I was going to go back to school. They put me in the mailroom with a paper cutter to make scrap paper notes for three weeks. May you complete all your UFOs and Project X's!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Susan. I'm really not quite sure I know how to use the 'cloud' but the technology just keeps changing. Thank you for visiting. Beth

  4. Personally, I always seem to chase the idea that won't go away. I have to believe there's a reason that it nags at me, demanding my attention. Do I have a project X? Sure... and Y, and Z, and starting again at A... like you, I have several in the cooker. The one tugging at me most recently isn't about quilting, but close... it's about knitting and the coming of age of a teenage girl who loses her father, then finds out all the family secrets (of which there are many!) while learning to knit from her father's mother.

    1. I hope you pursue this coming of age story. What could be more fun than to combine writing with a craft you love to do? I still remember teaching myself how to knit cables with three books open on my lap. There was much gnashing of teeth. Write on! Beth

  5. Anonymous4:24 AM

    Hmm... how does the cloud scan things for you? ;)

  6. Good morning, kelworthfiles. I use my desktop printer to scan, then upload images to 'the cloud'. I still like to work over my photos and docs before putting them in a 'cloud' file. Ten years ago, I would have thought such a desktop printer was a luxury, just as I couldn't imagine NOT saving pics and docs on my computer (which BTW is now a netbook, smaller and smaller). I still do have a two-drawer filing cabinet for paper docs. What's after the cloud? ;)