Friday, January 6, 2017

Writing "Fractional Freedoms"

Thank you to Dan, Karen and the LHB team for this kind invitation. I am a late adopter of social media (just went on FB in November!) but I have reliably checked LHB since I began thinking of myself as a legal historian. I have greatly enjoyed reading about the processes of writing monographs that bloggers described with such aplomb. I still remember Sophia Lee’s post about the ground-staking chapters of her book, Karen Tani’s description of working on her cover design, Ajay Mehotra’s meditations on intellectual history and the fiscal state, Mitra Sharafi’s delightful entries on undiscovered archives, among other memorable posts over the years. And of course I have pondered the sage advice dispensed by Mrs. Peppercorn to the clueless Peregrina. At the last ASLH meeting in Toronto, Reuel Schiller counseled me to blog about things that I may have wished I did in the book, or plan to explore in book two. Are you kidding? (I asked)…. This book took me a decade to write.

But I have put quite a bit of thought into what I wanted to talk about that would benefit LHB readers and those in the finishing stages of writing their books. I will blog about--in no particular order—the process of writing a sprawling introduction, choosing a cover, the tense arabesque of working with a copyeditor, waiting till the reviews come back to write a conclusion, what to do with unexpected and late potentially argument-changing archival evidence, and how to make best use of a year away-sabbatical to write.

Looking forward!