Chapter Six and Topix

I’m at the point in Chapter six when the gals get on the road and head to Watseka, first, and then Rural Hill, the town I made up, second. And so I’ve emailed the folks at the Roff Home to see if they’re still doing tours and I’ve been taking a crash course in Watseka on the internet. In the process I have learned about this website called Topix.

Do y’all know about this?

Lord almighty, I’m not even linking to it, but let me just say, if ever you’re sitting around being all “Oh, rural America, how quaint and wonderful you are” I invited you to get on Topix and peruse the forums. There is no need for me to even write my novel. I could have 248 blank pages that follow two pages of text. Page one would be the URLs to the Topix forums of the towns I grew up in and page two would read “SEE?!” and then there’d just be 248 pages of incredulous silence.

Anyway, chapter six. In a lot of ways, the first part of it is just dealing with the aftermath of chapter five. And, weirdly, Walt Whitman has ended up in there. Not as a character, just as a discussion topic. I don’t know if I’ll be leaving him or not. But it’s just a draft. He can be in there for a while.

But it’s time for them to get on the road so I can wrap this draft up.

Ha, that’s weird to think about. Wrapping this draft up. I thought, when I started, that I would be lucky to hit 50,000 words in this draft. but I’m already at 51,500. I think I’ll hit 60,000 no problem. And, if not, that’s okay. I expect to add many words on the next draft. There’s nothing in the book about music, nor, really, angels, which is weird when you think about it, since we’re talking about people and feathers. And I’ll need to see who’s getting shorted in the description or explanation department.

Like I said, in some ways, this draft has just felt like a step up from outlining. First you throw the big blobs down. Then you spread the blobs out and see how they fit together. Then you see if you need more blobs. And then you start really finessing those blobs into features and recognizable shapes. I’m still in the process of fitting blobs from the outline together. Just got to get that work done before I see how much more material I need.

I was looking at literary agency websites today. I know. I know. It’s way premature. But I’m thinking about how to pitch it. It’s a novel about religion, certainly, but it’s not a Christian novel in the sense of being something that has an audience of self-identifying Christians first and foremost. There’s Devil-fucking, after all. And it’s a story about the main character’s journey away from organized religion.

So, I just need to be sure to make clear that it’s not a Christian novel, even though, in many ways, that’s exactly what it is.

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