A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The History of Friday 10:03 (Part 1)

How does it take 40 years to write a novel?

Recently, I saw another author’s ten-year saga of getting her book published. I haven’t even begun the publishing part yet. For the writing task, though, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m working toward a deadline in mid February for giving it to my thesis committee, and one in mid March to show it around at a writers’ conference. Over the years, many people have asked what it was about, or if I was getting finished, or any number of polite questions when the real question concerned whether there really was a novel in all that talk. There’s a story in that, and at a little bit each day, it might take almost until mid March to tell the story. I will begin it here.

First though, I must point out that Friday, 10:03 is a working title. Much as I like it, I will probably have to come up with something else in order to sell the book. Publishers have rules against numbers in titles, and Friday, 10:03 presents some additional problems. How should you read the time? Three minutes past ten? I have always said it, “Ten-o-three.” The colon presents its own problems—no file name will accept it. The comma in a blog label would be read as dividing it into two labels. So the title will have to change, but I don’t have a replacement for it yet. For the moment, this work-in-progress is still titled, Friday, 10:03.

Next, I must distinguish between when I first put words on paper with the characters and story that has evolved into Friday, 10:03, and the earlier time when the jumbled thoughts and questions first began to bubble inside my brain. The writing must have started in late 1970 or early 1971. I know that on our first date, I showed an rough sketch to the woman who eventually became my wife. That would have been Easter, 1970.

However, the percolation had begun a full ten years earlier. By May 2, 1960, when the State of California executed Caryl Chessman, he’d been on San Quentin’s Death Row for twelve years. He'd he’d written three books, made the cover of TIME magazine, and become such a cause-célèbre that the State Department asked California to postpone the execution so that Eisenhower could tour South America without being mobbed.

I was ten. I read the TIME magazine cover story. Then, for another ten years, I mulled.

Go to Part 2.

3 comments:

Waiting for this novel has been the LONGEST pregnancy ever! I can hardly wait to see how the story ends! Yay, Brian!

V said...
January 3, 2008 at 4:03 PM  

First time visitor, Brian. I love the title, but I think I'd eliminate the comma.

My first one took 8 and 1/2 years. Then I wrote 3 in one year and 2 the next. That first one is killer.

I know you're an arachnid kind of guy, but in order to visit here, I'll have to cover my eyes or wear blinkers or something. I don't do spiders. :0

Nicole said...
January 3, 2008 at 8:06 PM  

Thanks, Nicole,
That's just the kind of advice I need to hear. (I mean about the comma. I plan to have another spider picture as early as tomorrow.

Brian said...
January 4, 2008 at 12:14 AM  

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