Untangling the Knot

Ah, Friday the 13th! I’m not given to superstition, but confirmation bias tells me that Friday the 13th is typically pretty awesome for me and I choose to believe that little demon because…hell, why not? Better to think it’ll be a good day than a bad one.

You can probably guess what I did yesterday. Well, other than my day job. Writing. Lots of it. Not a one-day record for words or anything, but the most that I’ve written in 2014. Like, 4500 words. And it kept on! Even as I lie (lay? We had a great discussion about this in the critique group once) in bed trying to drift off to sleep the ideas kept hitting me.

Here’s what kept talking to me last night. Brian and Mark in my critique group pointed out that they didn’t 100% buy Dean being assigned to Sex Addicts Anonymous as part of a sentencing in 2001, and it was a good point. Some brainstorming and I had come up with the idea of showing him in jail learning about the group. But how to tie that into the sentencing?

That is what kept hitting me over the head last night. My plan: Dean meets Stephen in jail when Stephen is picked up for an indecent exposure rap, a bit of he-said he-said involving a male prostitute on the North Side of town. Rather than being a self-centered, standoffish sponsor, Stephen is the polar opposite: kind of clueless about himself, in the closet, and overhelpful to the point of being obnoxious. This version of Stephen simply claims that he ran into the prostitute on the street, the prostitute followed him, and watched him as he pissed on fence.

For those who have read the early versions of this novel, you’ll see the massive change in character. Stephen was once something of a cloistered monk. The new Stephen is louder and brasher, but with some of the same spirit as the original, and having that character in place makes it much easier to understand how he lets things decline the way he does. For both of them the sex addiction thing – both the idea and the recovery – are little more than dodges to get out of jail time. The catch is that Dean thinks Stephen is sincere at first. They both go in and genuinely fall in love with the whole thing, but it starts from a faulty premise.

This strengthens the novel’s opening, answers a lot of questions right out of the gate, and allows the story to grow organically along its natural timeline. I’m happy with the approach. I don’t know how it’s all going to shake out, but I have a good feeling.

Still deciding which chapters stay and which go before I get back to finishing the first revision. A lot of the end-state chapters are probably gone, so finishing that revision shouldn’t be too difficult.

I don’t know, I’m just excited to share the novel with you. We’ll see how it evolves and grows and I’ll try to keep you appraised every step of the way. Appreciate having you with me.

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2 Comments

  1. Sounds like you are on the right track!

  2. Love it when the pieces fall into place like that. Hope more of the puzzle is put together in your mind.

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