So the writing took a back seat, and I've only just resumed. I think ten days went by with no writing, and the night I finally sat down to my laptop was divine bliss. Last night I finished chapter seven (out of twelve), and tonight I plan to go over it with fresh eyes and edit.
In the meantime, I've been enjoying a great book. My neighbour lent it to me saying that she'd earned her husband's wrath late at night because she just couldn't put it down. The book is "The Other Boleyn Girl", by Philippa Gregory, and I'm enjoying it very much. Don't know if it's "unputdownable", but pretty good nevertheless. Most importantly, it's a book from which I can learn a lot. One of my problem areas is pacing, and Gregory handles it beautifully in this novel. From a big picture point of view, nothing much is happening. No wide-ranging, fast moving plot, here, just a King increasingly tiring of his Queen and turning to the Boleyn girls, first Mary, then Anne, as diversion. But what makes the novel fast-paced is the complex behind the scenes plotting by the Boleyn/Howard family on one hand, and by the Queen and her Spanish and Roman Catholic allies on the other, as well as the many and varied small scenes that make up Henry VIII's courtship of the two Boleyn girls.
As I read, I try to store Gregory's tricks away so that I might practice "moving" my writing along at a faster pace than I manage to do now. She seems to pack a lot in by giving just a little visual/sensory detail, and relying on the reader to fill in the blanks. Such a good lesson, and one I sorely need to learn.