I have been thinking about my “Modest Proposal” and what I would really like to do.
First, by now, most of you who have followed my postings probably realize I enjoy the writing process—at least when I have, or can think of, something to say. As my close friend said, after I finally convinced him to look at the blog site, “Some of it is actually interesting.”
I have been writing, professionally or otherwise for more than 30 years. I’ll post my resume sometime in the next week—for those who care.
I have written and have had published one novel (2005). Let’s just say it was not on the NYT’s best seller list, and is now out of print. Vision of Treachery is a murder mystery. Since I have spent much of my life as a pilot, even building my own airplane, the novel incorporates a strong aviation thread. (Anyone interested can order a copy—while supplies last—from me for $10.00 plus postage.) I am tempted to heavily edit/rewrite it and find a publisher. But that would be my “third” major writing goal. (If I did do that, this “first edition” could become a collector’s item! Well, it could!)
Right now, I have two major writing goals in addition to this blog and several travel writing projects.
I have two novels either in progress or in the concept stage. The project that is started (only a couple of chapters drafted) is another murder mystery. The story line is fairly well developed—still plenty of room for the characters to grow, and for the story to twist and turn.
The other project is the subject of my “modest proposal.” Again, I know what I want to write about, even how the overall story is to be constructed—but now I have to develop credible characters and situations that are true to their time periods—and most of all—interesting to readers of historical novels.
So, here is my broad concept.
My idea is a historical novel that spans “several” centuries and a string of characters that are somehow connected, either by family or by circumstance, to the land that is Moyseneck Farm.
The book would be a collection of “short stories” (5,000 to 10,000 words). Each story would be set in a generational period of time. The stories will also be linked a contemporary character—in essence, the story teller. The Story Teller would be inspired and motivated by some distinct and precise spark—an historic event, a trinket or artifact, a letter, etc. As the Story Teller contemplates the “spark,” characters and a story come to mind, set in the time contemporary with the “spark.”
The only other constant (at this point) is that the stories will somehow relate to the land, Moyseneck Farm (or as it is known today, The Colonies) and/or the people who (could have) lived on or around that area—even if the story takes them away from there.
The Modified Modest Proposal
This is an initial step toward creating a piece of collaborative fiction, and many details will have to be resolved, but I would like to invite anyone interested in writing, history, story telling, editing, etc., to explore participating in this project.
Here is what I will provide at the outset (keep in mind anything can be modified if needed):
1. A time line and for the novel and a general profile of the characters for each time period.
2. Details of the setting (Moyseneck Farm) including its geology, flora, fauna, and the peoples who have lived on or marched across or passed by the property throughout the timeline.
3. Assuming we complete a credible manuscript, I will take on the responsibility of finding a publisher.
4. Initially, I plan to be the “Story Teller,” major contributor, senior and managing editor of the final product to ensure that temporal, cultural and editorial continuity is maintained or achieved.
5. Contributors could: write an entire “story,” offer storylines that others may develop, develop characters, read critically for strong story elements, copy editing, etc.
6. I will set up a dedicated blog site—The Renaissance Musings Writer’s Workshop (RMWW)—site for the purpose of collecting, editing, sharing and reviewing our progress, including places for research, notes, contributor list, version control, etc. We can decide how ‘public’ this space will be.
7. I would like to see this project completed within 24 months.
Please keep in mind that there are many unknowns as yet in this project. It is not offered as a money-making opportunity. I would indeed ensure that all contributors (whose contributions are used or incorporated in the final text) are acknowledged and given credit. We will make mutually agreed upon contingency plans in the event this becomes a best seller—but if big money is what you want, I suggest a lottery ticket. I do expect that being a contributor will give us all useful experience and perhaps, some writing credits.
I envision 12 to 16 Chapters (stories) strung together that each tells a period-appropriate story—the genre of the stories can vary; mystery, crime, love story, etc.—and the collection provides a credible, logical progression through time.
I have many ideas on every aspect of this project, but would like some feedback to this posting to see if there is any interest “out there.”
Actions that I ask of each of you who read my blogs:
1. If this sounds like a project you would like to work on, let me know. No commitment is required, just an expression of possible interest is all I am asking for—at this time.
2. If this sounds like an interesting idea you would just like to follow, that is encouraged, just let me know.
3. Please forward this to anyone you know who has ever remotely expressed an interest in creative writing.
Initially, I want to assemble a group of possible contributors and interested observers and start a discussion of how we proceed.
For more information on aspects of the collaborative writing concept, I suggest the Wikipedia article, Collaborative Fiction, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_fiction
Incidentally, what I propose is not new, nor is it new to me. For nearly twenty years, one of my professional writing functions was to assemble a document – a business proposal – from the writing of multiple authors—each writing in his or her area of technical expertise (subject) and style (voice). My job was two-fold: (1) Establish a document with a single voice, and (2) blend the messages from the various contributors to answer the requirements of the customer agency, often translating technical language into application descriptions for a more general readership.