Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How A New Novel Is Begun

I never would have dared share something like this before, but since I’m now on my fifth novel I’m comfortable enough with the process to know it’s going to work. It seems absurd on the face of it, to think that I take such crude, unrelated elements and weave them into a novel, but it’s the way it works for me. Some people couldn't imagine doing it on the fly and outline the entire story before they begin writing: such an approach is equally incomprehensible to me. For me, the story has to unfold itself, it has to grope its way from one location to the next. Sure, I’ll have my next destination somewhat in mind in order to guide me, but I always like to be surprised at how I get there and what direction it sparks me to head towards next. So here I am, throwing out a few things I have in my head which inspire me to write. And from them shall come another novel which I am confident I will be proud to say I wrote.

Opening Scene:
I have an image in my head of horses pulling a sled stacked with fallen trees up a big hill. Steam will be rising from their bodies as they exert themselves to the utmost. They are not sure why it is they must accomplish this task, but somehow the exertion seems to be what they were born to do. And so they labor and strive until at last the top is reached.
But as they reach the top they now realize that what once was a weight to be pulled is now a danger behind them. The weight of the sleigh is bearing down on them now with full force. They run madly to escape what is behind them, but in their madness they act individually and soon run into each other. One horse collapses, sending another and still another down, until the sled runs them down.
Our Main Character from the last novel, Seven Stones, will be witnessing the event. And to him he will see the world as it now is, a world that struggled to reach a higher summit only to see it all come crashing down upon them. It is 1917, and World War I is raging.
Doug Slattery is a draft dodger, avoiding the war by hiding in the woods of Northern Ontario. He has seen too much to view the fight as anything other than senseless. He has seen the promise of a better worlds slip away.
As a logger, he is part of the destruction of the natural habitat. So when odd things start happening in the region, he starts to think it is the result of the destruction he is a part of. Loggers go out in the woods but never come back. Their bodies are later found, horribly mangled. Is it some spirit of the woods out for revenge? Or is it some other form of butchery that is causing supernatural events? Gradually, Doug learns of an institution that is harboring veterans of the great war, shell-shocked wreckage from a devastation the likes of which the world has never known. The damage the war has done to them is still working its power through their war-ravaged minds. Doug will have to infiltrate the asylum disguised as a patient if he can hope to find the answers he will need to stop the horrors he has been witnessing. But the outside manifestations are but little compared to the madness within.

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