One, I’d like to correct what I said about there being 17-20 chapters in the book. Sure, that was a huge guess and now I feel it needs to be retracted. I don’t honestly know how many there will be. The reason for that is simple: chapters are not logical extensions of writing; in fact, they’re only included for the reader’s benefit. While there may be a few authors out there who think in chapters, they would be the exceptions and not the rule. Writing is an outpouring that doesn’t come in logical blocks. The story comes out as it develops, and only after breaks can be identified are chapters then added. I know there are writers who include them up front, but I’m not one of them. It forces my hand in a way that I don’t like. Instead, I want the story itself to be my focus, not on how long each chapter is or where I need to go before including a new pause. When it’s done, I’ll go back and work out where the chapter breaks should be. They do serve a useful purpose, I know, and as an avid reader I appreciate them. Nevertheless, guessing at the number now is being foolish. Once I’m happy with the story, I’ll go through it and find the places where a reader can comfortably pause without losing the spirit of the chronicle, and that’s where I’ll put in chapter breaks. It’s similar to the section breaks already in the narrative except a chapter is a longer pause in the read.
The original history of Kingswell and Carr Beholden (and Jefferson to a smaller degree) was about five paragraphs. It’s now at 16 and growing. That should give you an idea of how the story has hemorrhaged during the expansion phase. It’s not a lot of unnecessary gibberish; it’s all pertinent information with very little filler except when/where appropriate. The biggest difference is twofold: (a) the story is slower now, and that’s where a lot of the new material is coming from since the speed of a short story compared to a novel represents a significant difference, and (b) the idea is more revelatory in many ways, from Dave’s relationship with Beth to Beth herself to information on his current novel as will ultimately pertain to his experiences and so on, all of which is important to the story. The point is that it has been quite easy to take the original ~100 page document and turn it into something more. I already had a lot of the story in my head, and reading through it on the first rewrite proved an easy way for the additional details to develop.
I have no delusions about writing the “Next Great American Novel” or whatever in hell it’s called. Mark Twain never claimed to be writing something as prolific as his social commentary eventually became; instead, he wanted to write. Yes, it was that simple. Read about him and you’ll see that his claim to fame was that everything you might want to know about him was in his books. It was never about changing the world or narrating a story that would be famous for all time—or, at least, for a long time in America. The same is true of Shakespeare and Bradbury and Orwell and Clarke and Sagan and Homer and EVERYONE ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF. No one gets up one morning and says to themselves, “Gee, I think I’ll write a classic today, something that will be forever important.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no grand designs to write something that will be remembered in the annals of history. If it happens, so be it, but my ONLY desire is to write what my imagination offers forth.
Along those lines, there are stories to be told—much like Dreamdarkers—that are just stories and for which there is no overriding theme or intent. Sometimes it’s just a story. Since my ability to create tales hinges solely on my own ability to find inspiration and to delve into that inspiration, more often than not what grows from my intellect is nothing more complicated than a story. If it makes a point on politics or social commentary or world affairs, then so be it. Don’t be fooled into thinking that was the point. I may write non-fiction in the future that will focus on that sort of endeavor, but my fiction is fiction and fiction is fiction. If there’s any confusion about what point I’m making with a fictional story, the confusion is on your part, not mine.
I am not Mark Twain. I am not Arthur C. Clarke. I am not Homer or Shakespeare or George Orwell or any number of authors who have written texts that speak to a greater goal than just the story itself. I want to let my imagination run wild. If that makes me too common for some, so be it. I have no qualms with the clear understanding that such literature does not suit the fancy of everyone on the planet. If you’re looking to me for some fantastic philosophical piece, some in-depth exploration of humanity, the human condition, or whatever, or are otherwise expecting something more than what I intend to write, you’re going to be disappointed. Sometimes it’s JUST about telling the tale, about sharing the story, about speaking (via writing) some original concept or imaginative creation that has no intent other than to share the story itself. If you want examples, look at Stephen King or Anne Rice or Julian May or Greg Bear or Terry Pratchett or Dean Koontz or Michael Crichton or a great number of authors who find in the creation of other worlds via written word the most magical and wonderful escapism and relief any human can ever experience. That’s me. It’s just some tidbit of information that forms into something greater than it was when it was seen or heard or felt or… Well, you get the point. Should such a cathartic experience prove to be more than the story itself, should any such work wind up being an overwhelming experience of the mind and heart as relates to really important stuff, that’s fine by me. Just understand it’s not what I’m shooting for. It’s as simple as this: I want to write, I want to let my imagination run free, I want to explore the recesses of my own mind and share that with others, and I WANT TO SELL BOOKS. There is no secret regarding the financial interests in this, at least for me. Don’t be fooled into thinking anything other than that list is my inspiration and point. Doing so is unwise. For the most part, I am not planning to write something above most plebeians. That’s not to say I won’t eventually do so, but that’s not the target I’m shooting for right now. Please don’t expect more from me than I’m willing to give at this particular moment.
Wayne said in a comment (now disabled as it was on one of the original Darkness Comes to Kingswell posts):
I like that you have… while not exactly “Dumbing it down”… have made it a bit more “Reader-freindly” for the common folk. What I mean is that normally, your writing contains a great many words and terms that I simply either don’t know or think far to [extravagant] for regular use. There was little of that in this writing. It made it more enjoyable, somehow, to be able to sit and read it and not [occasionally] feel like an illiterate idiot.
Precisely my point! Exercising my writing and significantly advanced mental capabilities here on this blog is not an indication of what I want to write for publication. I want people to actually read it, buy it, enjoy it, and want more from me. I hope that comes from the exploration of my imagination which I believe to be full of stuff that many people will find exciting and entertaining and generally worth their reading effort. If you’ve never read David Hume’s works on philosophy, you should try it. His writing is a lot like what I tend to do from time to time when I get overly brainy. For example, here’s something from his A Treatise on Human Nature:
Probability arises from an opposition of contrary chances or causes, by which the mind is not allow’d to fix on either side, but is incessantly tost from one to another, and at one moment is determin’d to consider an object as existent, and at another moment as the contrary. The imagination or understanding, call it which you please, fluctuates betwixt the opposite views; and tho’ perhaps it may be oftner turn’d to the one side than the other, ’tis impossible for it, by reason of the opposition of causes or chances, to rest on either. The pro and con of the question alternately prevail; and the mind, surveying the object in its opposite principles, finds such a contrariety as utterly destroys all certainty and establish’d opinion.
See what I mean? Sure, I can go that route to explore the outer reaches of humanity, and more so from my own perspective, but how many people actually read his stuff? Not many. In fact, I’d suspect none of you have ever heard of him or, if you have, you’ve never read anything other than a quote here and there (something I do here from time to time). I’ve read everything of his. Can you say the same? Would you want to read over and over again that kind of fiction (his is philosophy, but you get the point)?
My book aspirations revolve around actually being read by more than a dozen people willing to do the difficult thing of wading through overly intellectual prose. Sorry, but that’s just how it is.
I’m thinking of putting together a collection of my poetry and creative prose (not fictional so much as poetic) in a book. I’m not even sure I could get it published. Some of this stuff dates back decades (more than two and slightly less than three if you must know). It would be an emotional work instead of a fictional work. Some of that poetry and prose has already been posted here. Some has not. We’ll see how I feel about it once I pick out some items that might be worth publishing. It could just be wishful thinking, but it’s an idea I’ve recently begun considering.
Finally, I will probably post some excerpts from Dreamdarkers as I work and rework and re-rework the text prior to submitting it to the person who will be reading the manuscript for me. All of that has to happen before I even try to get it published. He’s already agreed to read it and is very interested in helping me from both the editorial and content perspectives, so I think I can rely on him to give me healthy feedback from which I can make a final pass through the text before moving on to the I-hope-I-can-get-this-published phase. Between now and submission time, I’ll toss up a bit here or there that I think is worth sharing but that won’t give away the family farm in the process. There won’t be a lot of those and you should know that ahead of time. Still, it might be interesting for you to see morsels of it on occasion.
[Update] I meant to add this as well. Assuming the second book idea remains intact (that all depends on inspiration and ability), it will be called one of three things. Here are the options: Samhain, Samhuinn (less likely since that’s not the original word), or End of the Warm Season (or something similar, since the real translation is “end of warm season”). That’s as much as you get on that one.