Wednesday, May 8, 2013

we see those things to which others are blind, mon ami

Today at lunch I finished my last-minute revisions to the manuscript for The Transcendental Detective, and as soon as I type up my changes into the master Word™ document, the book will be ready to send off to my editor at Rhemalda. I didn’t do much work, since the book was in pretty good shape already. There were some sentences to tighten up, a few bits of exposition to rearrange, a Napolean reference to insert, and that sort of fussing, but not much else. On the whole, I declare it a fine enough little book. The last chapter is really good, I tell you. I mean, it’s all pretty good but the last chapter made me very happy as I read it over again. I haven’t had a glance at this manuscript in over a year so my memory of it was fuzzy, you know. The prose is quite influenced by Fitzgerald, which I remember was a deliberate choice. I’d just read The Great Gatsby when I began to draft The Transcendental Detective. I’m not sure what the stylistic reference points are going to be for the sequel, which I’ve begun writing (not much beyond a detailed draft and a first scene and notes for scenes along the way, but that’s something). I’m not going to re-read Gatsby. I have a vague feeling that it will be more along the lines of Hemingway, but obviously that still puts me into the American Modernist camp of prose, which is a fine place to be so I don’t apologize. I also appear to be rambling a bit. The main thing, I think, is that I’m about to get serious with the drafting of a new novel, which means that, alas, my reading time will diminish to almost nothing and also the number of blog posts I write about the process of writing novels is about to increase exponentially, so you’ve all been warned to brace yourselves and also to take cover. Feel free to abandon me for the next five or six months, because really, even I don’t want to read what I’ll be posting here. Though I promise that there will be excerpts along the way, for those whose interests can be piqued.

I had a point when I began writing this. Oh, maybe this was it: the new detective novel’s provisional title is Circus in the Dust, but I expect that will change. It sounds too much like that Faulkner novel, for one thing, and also I just hope to stumble across something better, with more spark to it. One Day a Ghost Town, maybe. Or, Pursued By a Bear. The Stranger works, too. I could work in a Camus reference even. Those sorts of cheap jokes never fail to amuse me.


  1. But I *like* "Circus in the Dust" and I don't know your Faulkner reference.

  2. Faulkner's is Intruder in the Dust. We have it on the shelf at home, next to Sanctuary. In the living room. You can advise about the title when I've got a whole book standing behind it. I'm leaving it as Circus... for now.

  3. As I lay working, I advise you to go home and soak your brain in alcohol. For medicinal, restorative purposes only, you understand.

  4. Once upon a time I was a devoted-to-all-Faulkner teen and young adult, so ". . . in the Dust" would definitely point in his direction for me.

    Enjoy jumping into the deep end with a new book!

  5. I'm excited to really get going; I've been collecting ideas and making notes for a long time.

    Faulkner is clearly the literary touchstone I've been looking for with this book. It's been staring me in the face all this time and I just didn't see it, except subconsciously, of course. His brand of Southern Modernism is just what I want as a guiding spirit. I'll add some broad comic set pieces and call it good.

  6. I like Circus in the Dust. As long as it's not a "Such-and-Such's Wife", it's good to go. I swear those titles just don't stop nowadays.

    I'm excited about the Faulkner direction. :) The whole book, really!