One thing that I, as an artist of limited ability, appreciate about the digital age, is that I can get lots of mileage out of old works of art, and even new works of art, by cutting and pasting, photo-shopping, and re-using elements of the drawings done once… but turned into many by digital means.
And the process can take you home again, no matter how far away and how long ago home has become.
I am now deep into the plot of my novel, The Boy…Forever. How deep you may ask? Well, at least up to my eyeballs.
I am busy looking at the story through the eyes of four characters, each telling their part of the story in a different way, but in first-person narrative.
I should explain that I am writing this novel as an epistolary novel, a novel made up of written artifacts.
So, let me comment on each of the four main narrators.
Anita Jones is telling her views of what happened in a series of letters to her cousin in Dallas, Dottie Jones. She starts off the plot by getting a letter from her cousin in St. Louis, Icarus Jones, that is basically a suicide note. Dottie’s answer letters are included in the novel, but only as commentary on the action, since she is far removed from the events being narrated. Anita is a highly sensible girl who has started a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with Eddie Campbell, and her highly sensible life is thrown into serious disarray by her cousin’s somewhat bizarre plight.
Icky himself is only the author of the suicide note, so his involvement in the story, as the most important character (even mentioned in the title), depends on the narration of others.
Sherry Cobble is writing her Nudist’s Diary to chronicle life in the 9th grade in Iowa as a happy and enthusiastic naturist whose main goal is to recruit all of her 9th grade friends to be naturists. Her twin sister Shelly is also a nudist and is supposed to being doing her half of the diary, but her boyfriend has happily accepted the invitation to become a naturist already, and her interest in the diary has waned.
But Sherry’s diary entries soon reveal a serious conflict. Icky Jone’s girlfriend talks her step-father into moving all the way to Norwall, Iowa in order to be near to Icky. And Fiona Long soon becomes interested in Sherry’s boyfriend, Brent Clarke. In fact, she crashes Sherry’s Spring Nude Picnic party so that she can spend time playing football in the nude with Brent. And to make matters worse, Fi turns out to be a red dragon disguised in human form. Fi is obviously not one of the narrators of the book. So, her part in the story depends solely on what Sherry says about her.
Brent Clarke is the third narrator of the book. He is the leader of the local gang of farm kids and 9th graders known as the Norwall Pirated. He’s obsessed with police work and investigating bad guys. He keeps investigator notes in which he sees himself as a great detective. And it is his detective instincts that start him recording what he can learn about Tian Long, Fi’s stepfather. His suspicions lead him to the conclusion that Mr. Long is an evil Chinese dragon in human form.
Milt Morgan is the fourth major narrator of the story. He is a highly imaginative 9th grader who is supposed to be keeping a daily journal for his English teacher (who desperately wants Milt to become a better writer and put his high-powered imagination to better uses than thinking up ways for the Norwall Pirates to get into trouble).
Milt, naturally, hates to write, but does it on a typewriter, mistakes and all, because he is a story-teller at heart. And this story has a potential to stop any and all hearts involved. You see, in some ways, it is a story about a monster. A monster who wants to eat Icky Jones. It wants to eat him because… he is boy who can potentially live forever.
And, finally, here’s a reminder about my book promotion, beginning today.
I have been working on a new story that I have been writing in my head for at least twenty years. The novel was originally untitled. But I started working on it by calling it the Forever Boy. But that made it sound like a super-hero sort of comic-book story. So, I adjusted the title to The Boy… Forever.
I had the idea for a cover when I turned the villain’s primary hench-person into a character formerly used in a Dungeons and Dragons game.
Her name is Firefang, but as she enrolls in the Belle City High School freshman class, she is known as Fiona Long, whose name the gang shortens to Fi. The reason for the name change is that Fi is actually a red Chinese dragon disguised in a human form, a teenage girl.
Her stepfather is secretly a thousands-of-years-old Chinese Celestial Dragon disguised in human form. His name is Tian Long. And in order to stay alive for another twenty years, he must consume the essence of an immortal human being. That immortal happens to be Anita Jones’s young cousin Icarus who became immortal at the age of ten.
So, I tried putting those last two images together to make a cover. As you can plainly see, that didn’t work very well. The dragon seems to be coming out of Fi’s hair like a giant cootie. So. I tried to make it more of a collage.
That was still not good enough. So, I tried even harder to make it look like a collage.
I added the main character, Icarus Jones, and some color contrasts.
To me, that’s better. You are welcome to criticize. It will still be a while before the story is done. I may still change it more. But I am basically satisfied… not Forever… but for now.
I have now re-written about sixty percent of the old novel AeroQuest. I published AeroQuest 1 : Stars and Stones in September. AeroQuest 2 : Planet of the White Spider was published yesterday in October. AeroQuest 3 : Juggling Planets will probably take longer than either of the other two. The story has to be elongated. The growing rebellion of the pirates and smugglers trying to establish the New Star League need time to grow their rebellion. In the previous edition of this book the flower blossoms almost before the shoots are out of the ground. I need to develop the rebellion with more planets and systems with reasons why they want to leave the icky old emperor and establish a space-born democracy. And this novel series isn’t merely a parody of Star Wars or an imitation of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is also its own version of a space opera with unique characters and plot-lines that are entirely Mickian in their non-sensibility.
Ged Aero, the main character and most important protagonist, is revealed in AeroQuest 2 to be the new White Spider, a prophet-like teacher fulfilling a century-old prophecy by leading twelve young disciples into the state of near-perfection of their psionic mind powers. Adventures where these twelve student-disciples learn stuff they need to know need to be added to the original story.
Each of the first two re-written books is about 35,000 words. The original novel is about 120,000 words. I will need to add a lot more than just the re-write of 50,000 more words. And I want to keep the books approximately equal, so I will be aiming to increase the total to at least 140,000 words by writing two more 35,000-word stories. And it may be enough more than that to fill five total books.
If my run-away cancerous imagination is not reigned in, I have at least three more book-length story-tumors to add in beyond that.
So, I have enough to do. My Tuesday blog plan will still be going for a while.
I am nearing the completion of the rewrite of part two of AeroQuest. Part of that is getting all the illustrations I want to include done. So, here are a few more that I have been working on.
For those who might be wondering, AeroQuest 1 and AeroQuest 2 are comic science fiction, and I have chosen to rewrite them with lots of illustrations since it is a work of fiction that I might’ve done as a graphic novel if only I didn’t have arthritis in my hands.