I’m going to make some changes, have an offer and some other stuff next week. Stay tuned to this blog for more information.
Four years ago I finished my novel, Breaking Grace, and then set it aside intending to let it marinate and edit it… again… for the umpteenth time. I went on to other projects, including the next novel, Kismet, and of course, my faux Victorian opus, The Bumhampton Chronicles. There were also submissions for open calls and anthologies.
But life got in the way and I lost interest in writing; again, and I’m sure not for the last time. But, on this past Monday, I looked at the two-inch thick stack of paper that is the Grace Manuscript, and I felt a stirring. No! Not that kind of stirring, you perverts. Although, if I do say so myself, those who have read the entire draft have told me it’s very hot. So, I fired up Word and started a new blank document. I changed the title, and, also the start, because what brought this stirring on was thinking up a new beginning to the novel.
It’s 108,000 words and 242 pages single-spaced, and although the beginning is very strong and I’m keeping that chapter intact, it never really flowed out of the gate with the punch I wanted. I’d gone back and forth between 3rd person past and 1st person present, but though I thought the latter was the best, it didn’t work as a prologue. At all. Too confusing and needed a backstory or commentary and so, I just left it hanging until something better came along. Which it did.
So Tuesday when I started fresh, I started off as 3rd person past in chapter 1 with 750 brand new, never before seen, full warranty, fresh out of the box, words. I then stayed with the past tense in chapter two and three, and then moved the former prologue to chapter four as 1st person past, but set in the present ‘as told to’ narrative. I also pulled about a thousand words from the middle of the old chapter 10 and inserted [you people’s minds are in the gutter] them near the beginning of chapter two. Comprende?
So the new word count so far is 6,445. As I rewrite, I don’t anticipate shuffling much more around, but there is a series of chapters that borrows from Domestic Discipline, Jenny Style, that I may not keep, or at least will modify heavily. Jenny gave me permission years ago to use the excerpt, but I think I’ll use a more fictionalized version of her contract, so that any future conflicts with publishing are avoided.
So what is this novel all about?
Well, it has spanking, BDSM, D/s, D/D, polyamory, Christianity, LGBTQIA, abuse, violence, and takes an unflinching look at the way corruption intersects with juvenile justice. There is lots more than that: the narrative device is two timelines eight years apart that come together with plots that go spinning off in all directions, affluenza leading to wasted lives and people finding love in all the wrong places. It is not an easy read, and it will piss a lot people off.
But at the heart, it’s a romance about the devastation of abuse inflicted by adults upon children and the power of faith and redemption to bring healing to broken survivors.
The internet has failed. Hasn’t it?
“A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” Spoken by King Richard III in the play of the same name by William Shakespeare
In today’s world, he would have said: “5G! 5G! My investment portfolio for 5G!”
What Richard was asking for was not a horse so much, but for information. An Information Superhighway that would save his life and his kingdom. Information that could best be transmitted by the Ferrari of the time with a one-horsepower drivetrain.
Information is what enabled businesses, empires and religions to spread far beyond their origins. Information; the need to have quick and secure communications between leaders, is what drove infrastructures such as roads, canals, rails and shipping to ever faster and more efficient routes. An army couldn’t march if there was no way forward or no intelligence as to the whereabouts and intentions of the enemy.
The World Wide Web, as the Internet is now named, began as a better way to communicate; to pass information quicker and easier than letters and couriers. Academia saw it as a way to collaborate and research without sequestering in musty libraries. A few nimble businesses foresaw another way to reach consumers, but for most companies, it was just another advertising avenue and Madison was working out fine. Nobody, not even science fiction writers, came anywhere close to the reality of 2021.
When I was a wee lad, there was such an occupation as door-to-door salesman of encyclopedias. Normally bought a volume at a time on an installment plan. The standard pitch was a guilt trip laid on the parents so that Little Junior here had a chance to have an Ivy League [Harvard and ilk] worthy education for mere pennies a day. Implied was; as opposed to following in dear old dad’s footsteps at the greasy garage. Never mind that Junior had no shot at college unless via the military while Little Miss was expected only to follow mom into the kitchen and nursery.
Personal computers, routers and dial-up modems opened up the world… a curated world that’s true… but a world nevertheless heretofore unattainable for almost everyone. It was even free. An afterthought given away by telephone companies that had no idea how to market the concept. Thus the myth took hold that “information was free!” Free of regulations, free of restrictions, free of censorship, free of corporate control: freedom to create and connect and have a grand ol’ time learning about anything you wanted.
That’s what everyone wanted to learn about. Sex.
What people forgot, or chose to ignore, is that information has never been free. Not to create, not to transmit, not to consume. The market, no matter the political rule, will always find a way to supply demand. Especially demand that is artificially created and stimulated in order to make money. “Social Media” is not new; only the platform is.
The internet has failed if you believed that freely exchanged information was supposed to bring disparate people together in celebration of their similarities. The internet has failed if you believed that creativity would allow everyone to be successful and financially equivalent. The internet has failed if you believed that the truth would become obviously self-evident.
The truth is that the internet is simply a tool; like a plow or a loom, it is how you wield it that makes it a success or failure. Without the internet, I wouldn’t have friends around the world, wouldn’t have published books, wouldn’t be able to follow whatever and whomever I choose. Without the internet, I wouldn’t have become such a diehard spanko.
That’s not a bad legacy.