My posting may be irregular for a few weeks. I usually try to post daily, but I’ve gotten way behind on my reading. As in, I’m covered through tomorrow and not beyond that. The reason: the story that’s the work in progress.
The idea for the story came during watching an online worship service at our church (a blessing during the virus pandemic). The worship leaders and musicians were leading the congregation in singing, when I noticed the guitar player had stopped for a moment, not losing his place, exactly, but as if something had struck so forcefully that it gave him pause. It was only a moment, and then he continued.
And I asked myself, what might have caused that? Could I build a story around it?
I started writing in November. It happened in fits and starts, do-overs and delete-alls. Sometime in the Thanksgiving period, I realized the story wasn’t about the guitar player. He becomes a major character, but the story is about – and told by – someone else, an 11-year-old boy. I rewrote the beginning. I have the boy as a man, 20 years later. And he’s forced to consider what happened to his family when he was 11, when it was torn apart and almost atomized. And it doesn’t happen in a war zone, but in a St. Louis suburb.
I’m a long way from London and the Dancing Priest novels.
Inspiration for a setting in Stonegate
By the end of December, I had passed 16,000 words. A week into the new year, and I had doubled that number. Things were moving swiftly, until I hit 40,000 words. Then I hit a wall. I couldn’t see where the story went next. I stopped. It took me a week, and a few walks, to begin to work it out. Fortunately, the weather was cooperating at the time, and we were still having a mild winter. I could go on hour-long walks. To help envision the sense of place, I took photos of three houses that are like three of the houses in the story.
The writing has picked up again. I’ve passed 75,000 words, and the end is in sight. I know how the story will end, and I know the three major scenes left.
The words have come at the expense of reading, which means also at the expense of blogging. I usually blog daily, four days a week about books. It’s going to be sporadic for a while. It’s disorienting to a degree because I’ve been posting daily since 2011, including during five trips to Britain. But to do this story right, something had to give.
I have a working title: Stonegate. It’s the story of a family blown apart when the oldest child, a 13-year-old, is accused of a criminal act, and no one believes he’s innocent except his 11-year-old brother. That guitar player, the guy who started the story in my head, is still there, but his role is not related to his guitar playing.
We’ll see where we go with this. I have no ETA. Once the draft is done, I’ll have to spend considerable time working it over, editing, and rewriting. I’ll continue to post for Tweetspeak Poetry, and I have a blog post publishing tomorrow for the American Christian Fiction Writers. The Friday and Sunday poems are already scheduled into January of 2022. Saturday Good Reads will continue. But expect the Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday book reviews to be sporadic.
Top photograph by Vlad Shalaginov via Unsplash, Used with permission.