Monday, October 02, 2006

Journal of a "Novel"-Entry 24

Look for My Completed Novel Coming around 2010

Well, let's face it folks, this stuff is slow going. It's been a month since I posted on this blog with a journal, or anything else, and I guess it's about time to contribute something to the conversation. Which is pretty much one-way......luckily for ST readers (all one of you!), the mind-plowing Duke Altum has been keeping his chambers loaded and kickin' stuff out of both barrels. His intelligent "Mining the Modern Malaise" series will keep your brain humming for weeks while you try to figure out if you have the rocks to check out writers like Saul Bellow.....I know I don't.....

In the meantime, I have been writing Chapter 2 of my novel in progress, "Obeisance to Mammon". I am not sure what the title of the chapter will be yet. Originally it was reported here as "Taking the Cure", but I don't think that will work anymore. I'd say I am about halfway through the Chapter or maybe a little over that. We'll see. I have a lot more to write on it though, I know that. I think the chapter will probably be equal in length if not longer than Chapter 1 was, and that chapter wasn't very short, so it looks like this novel will be written in fairly thick chapters, which is not a really big susprise if you know me or my writing.

How long is this damned book going to take? On the way to work this morning I was doing some of the math: I started the Prologue in around March of 2006, and was working on that until the beginning of June. I worked on Chapter 1 from June through August. And since August I have been writing Chapter 2. This will probably carry me until at least November if not December. Which means I wrote about 3 chapters (the Prologue is around the same length) since March. MAYBE, if I work at the same pace, I will produce 4 chapters in 2007. That brings me up to 7 chapters. Now, i always thought this novel would be somewhere around 12-15 chapters, but it could be more. Let's say 15. That means at the end of 2007, if nothing happens to majorly slow me down even more, we're talking about 2009-early 2010 when this sucker's done! See you then!

One particularly frightening possibility I have made with this discovery is: that means there could be at least three more years' worth of this dreadfully boring journal.....

The Broad Picture: Chapter 2, and Inklings of Chapter 3

As I said, I am about halfway through Chapter 2, more or less. It's been going hard, but it's still going. I haven't killed the story yet and it hasn't killed me. What's it about? As I've said before, in this chapter the newly married Walter and Greta Brogan are on their honeymoon in southern Indiana in a famously opulent motel and spa. They do their best to acclimate themselves into their highly temporary surroundings while Walter Brogan wonders what to do about the "secret" he's holding: the unexpected and troubling encounter which readers are witness to at the end of Chapter 1. At the same time, we learn about Walter's backstory - how he had football dreams, played at Notre Dame for two seasons under the young Irish coach Knute Rockne, and how he arrived back in his home town one night after class at Notre Dame to find out his dreams of football were over, killed, along with his father, in the line of duty.....Walter and Brogan have encounters with some wealthy lawyers at the hotel and discover that one of them has a mentor-like relationship with someone they both know. The chapter will end with Walter and Greta returning to Bentonville to begin the rest of their "normal" life together.

After that, hopefully, the novel will begin to slowly move forward. It will jump ahead about 5 months (slow progress at first, gaining inertia hopefully) to November 1924. The Indiana government has just been taken over by a new chief, Governor Edward Jackson, a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan. Walter Brogan, colored by previous experience, will begin to feel that he must take decisive action to protect himself and his family. But he will receive advice to the contrary from a worldly-wise older man. Meanwhile, Peter Heinricks will pursue grand adventures in the world of big oil, and local politician-in-waiting Myron Devreaux will begin plotting his moves for a future bigger than anyone predicted he'd have. (Not a little embellishment there, but that's the basic tenor of the ideas that are kicking around right now. Ought to be interesting to see if they come to fruition!)

Epilogue: A Teaser

Finally, thinking of the much longer term arc of the novel, out of nowhere recently I had an idea for the Epilogue to the story, which I've always had some idea of the voice for if not the content of. (Hint: first person voice, not Walter Brogan's, and not Luke Brogan's like the Prologue.) It will be called "The Embrace of the One-Armed Savior", and hopefully in more ways than one will circle the wagons all the way back to the beginning. We'll see if this in any way ends up being part of the book, but it was fun to drop in here at the end of this post, and hell, maybe in 2008 or 9 of whenever I am writing the end of this novel, I can come back and say I had the idea first in 2006.

Happy reading and doing whatever it is that you do! Back to the grind!!


Duke Altum said...

Wow, Mutt dropped an intriguing hint there at the end that I didn't even get to until days later... is this an entirely new idea Mutt, or was this something you had planned earlier and is just starting to take some shape in your mind now? Either way, it's interesting to watch this story sort of slowly take on a form in the "real world" as you write the various parts. I've heard you talk about the Prologue and first few chapters, and then read them, and I think that what was originally envisioned is certainly not always what came out on the page. Not that I haven't enjoyed what's on the page! But it's just interesting to observe the process...

The Secret Thread is wide open for you to continue to report on your progress in this project... why not? This is a blog about literature, and why not talk about writing it as well as reading it? Those who are interested in the latter will certainly have some interest in the former, even if they themselves don't possess that particular gift... so bring it on. As I've said before, who knows? We could be making literary history...

Mutt Ploughman said...

Duke, I think the notion of you hearing about what the chapters are going to be like and then reading a slightly different story when you actually get them is probably not going to change.....certainly my Chapter 2 has changed its stripes several times as I have been writing it, and it's only 3/4 done. There will probably be a few more changes before the thing is finished. But hopefully when the story shifts as it is being drawn out of me, these changes serve the story better. It will definitely be interesting to see what you make of the second chapter, which certainly has been every bit as arduous to write as Chapter 1, if not more so.

The idea for the Epilogue came from something that has been around in my head for years, but I never really brought it in and connected it to the novel I am writing now. It was sparked by sometime I saw on my original trip to Indiana in 1999 that in some ways was the beginning of this novel. But I am going to try to incorporate it into my story in a way that hopefully contributes to the "right" resolution to the novel. Time will tell, and that part is way down the road: by the time I get there, the story may have changed so much in general that the idea has no place. It's anybody's guess....thanks for reading these posts.