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Synopsis Redux

by Jonathan 0 Comments

I’ve been working on paring this down to the essentials, tweaking it in tandem with changes I’m making to the novel, which, ideally, will also result in a leaner, tighter story.

Fleeting images of Tuareg nomads near a campfire - image by Alexandre Baron

Image courtesy of Alexandre Baron


I suppose the question is, after reading the synopsis, “Does this pique your interest?”

In the crook of the Quiet Sea’s eastern shores lies the grime-ridden sprawl of Stelinople, a city of industry ruled by the Magnate Trust. Searching for new energies to fuel its furnaces and mills and manufactories, the Trust has fixed its gaze squarely upon the Jashem, seeking the energy locked in that scoured desert land. And the Yürük Çin who draw upon it.

When Yürük scout Khyrg al Wahid and his headstrong daughter witness a Trust airship crash, they discover survivors — Trust researchers. Aiding the researchers becomes a furious flight across the Jashem, sweeping Khyrg up in the Trust’s schemes, thrusting him toward Stelinople, the city that holds his deepest secret, his darkest shame.

All the while, researchers at the University conduct morbid experiments around the clock to bend the energy of the Jashem to their will.

What You Don’t Know…

by Jonathan 2 Comments

I’ve been feasting on a steady diet of podcasts and articles like a tiger on British Soldiers in Africa and came across some good stuff from Téa Obreht over at The Bat Segundo Show.  I probably would not have given the interview a second thought except that I had seen Obreht’s book, The Tiger’s Wife show up on a couple of blogs I enjoy, A Dribble of Ink and the The Speculative Scotsman. I’d considered seeing if I could find the book at our local library (that would be like winning the lottery) and then kind of left it alone. Checking my podcast subscriptions, I saw Obreht’s name beneath The Bat Segundo Show and thought I ought to give it a listen. The whole interview is enjoyable, but I particularly enjoyed this bit:

Correspondent: But if you’re constantly revising to get that precision, how do you keep yourself in surprise? Because that, of course, is very important to maintain the life of a story.

Obreht: Oh, that just comes normally. Because I have no idea what I’m doing! (laughs)

Correspondent: Yeah. The big thing that nobody really understands. That writers really don’t know what they’re doing often.

Obreht: Yeah. Exactly. You know, you stumble into things. And you’ll be 75% of the way through something and suddenly it’s like, “Oh, I changed my mind! Actually, this is going to happen because it feels more normal, more natural.” Then you have to backtrack and shift everything.

The excerpt from the show stopped before they got to the part I like the most where Obreht talks about forging ahead even when she knew what she had written wasn’t good or needed work, knowing that she could circle back and revisit it when the time was right.

There’s exquisite freedom in giving ourselves permission to be imperfect, to not know.





How We Arrive in the Present

by Jonathan 0 Comments

We’ve all ridden to the present in our own homemade jalopies bristling and clanking and whistling with every bit of where we’ve been, what we see, who we’ve met, what we’ve done, why and how we’ve done it . The road ain’t always pretty or easy to travel. Sometimes it’s full of potholes, sometimes it’s no road at all, just trackless wilderness. Pieces fall away and new ones get scabbed in their place. And sometimes, if we’re lucky and we’ve endured, we come out on the other side with something to give.

Like these guys.

If you think this just applies to artists, your road’s been a tunnel or you slapped blinders on yourself somewhere along the way.  If we can climb out of our own cavernous holes long enough to look around and survey the landscape, we can find it everywhere we look. And we should.

It’s Good to Be Back

by Jonathan 2 Comments

After 21 days of rafting the Colorado River, I rolled across the country with a couple of fine traveling companions. I got home the night before Thanksgiving and was so happy to see my lovely wife. My daughter was asleep, but I hugged her and kissed her anyway.