Friday, January 1, 2016

The State of the Novel: Blood Cries

Back in August on this blog, I declared my intention to write a new novel and post it online.

The book is based on a series of alleged murders committed in Alexander City, Alabama in the 1970s.  In 1978, author Harper Lee showed up in town to research a book-length piece of journalism that would tell the story.  As of yet, that book has not been published.

My book, Blood Cries, follows a character inspired by Harper Lee and many characters loosely based on those involved in the true story.  It is a work of fiction, with invented situations and dialogue.  It is my hope that it will capture an emotional truth and tell the story in an interesting, satisfying way.

I originally hoped to finish the book by December, but after a fast start production has slowed down somewhat.  I'm putting out a new chapter roughly every two weeks.  Chapter 22 is scheduled to post this Sunday.  At this point, the book is roughly half-completed.

I expect the blog version to run from between 40,000 and 50,000 words with the finished draft to stretch longer. 

In addition to copy editing, I will make a few other minor changes in the future.  Dates will change—I’m changing the time setting of the Louella Harper storyline from 1980 to 1978—and I’m planning to make surface changes to one of the secondary characters.  I plan to write at least one new chapter that will not appear in this draft.

I don't know how many people, if any, will read this book all the way through in these short installments.  I know it's not the way people tend to read books.  Back when novels appeared in magazines in serialized form, they were released in much longer blocks.  Then again, I believe the click-through links make it easy to navigate between chapters.  Maybe this way is better suited to the modern short attention span.  Time will tell.

Traffic to the blog has increased since I began posting, and I've begun to receive emails from people familiar with the original story.  My hope is that people will continue to read this draft and offer comments, suggestions, and/or historical details that can be carried into the next draft and help make this a better novel.

Thank you for reading!

Christamar Varicella

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