One Hundred and One Pages

by | Jul 3, 2007 | Creating Characters, The Great American Desert

That’s twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred and seven words, and that’s what the first draft of part one of the new novel has come to. It’s a relief to be able to say the draft is done, as it was moving really slowly there towards the end as the threads of the story were winding in towards the center, like one of Yeats’ gyres. Now I can start going through and revising. Just like during the writing of Desert, those revisions are beginning to occur to me during bicycle rides, which is not the most convenient time, but so it goes.

Despite what Nabokov has to say, it sure has been interesting to watch these characters come alive. The biggest surprise was Kandy, who has turned out to be a much more lively figure than I’d first thought. Syke, too, towards the end of part one, sprung a few unexpected things on me. Too bad she won’t get a chance to keep doing that. Hugh, blowhard that he is, has always had a lot to say, and in part two he’s going to get a chance to explain himself yet more fully. For awhile. And Tommy, who so far has been far too distracted to say or think much of anything; it’s time for him to wake up.

Those are the four main characters, and it has been nice to have access to so many voices after having been tied to just Antony Munchner during Desert. Lord knows how I tried to get around him, but having him tell his own story was the only way I could get that book to work. It was limiting in a lot of ways although there were certainly compensations as well. But this omniscient narrator stuff? I feel like a kid in a candy store. Originally, I was going to let him climb only into the four main characters’ heads. Then he got curious about what Chad the pool attendant thought about it all, and then, wonder of wonders, the jackal-headed Egyptian god Anubis and a Kachina doll ended up with cameos as well. We’ll be hearing more from Chad, too.