Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Update on My Civil War Novel


I know I’ve blogged on a somewhat eclectic array of topics over the past few weeks, everything from short-story contests, to speaking with literary agents, to creating an online Sci Fi saga. Sitting still has never really been one of my virtues. But I wanted to give you all a brief update on the current status of my primary literary endeavor, namely the progress with getting my historical war novel closer to publication, The Long Defeat.

I have several agents that have expressed an interest in possibly representing my work, and when I mentioned that I have a professional editor working with me on polishing the manuscript they asked to see the entire final copy once I’ve completed the editorial process. Needless to say, I’d love to have the whole book sparkling and ready for them to view tomorrow, but constantly editing and rewriting a novel takes a lot of time. Currently, my editor, Lea Beresford, has projected to have the last edits to me by sometime in early May. In the meantime, I continue to go through her track-changes and other edits, sifting through every word and sentence to make sure it comes across exactly as it should. There’s a lot to consider when crafting sentences for today’s publishing world. You may think to yourself…but Mark, what’s there to rewrite? Don’t you like it the way it is? Sure I do. But there’s a lot more to consider, and this is where my education in the publishing world continues to grow each day. There are other questions a writer must ask oneself when editing a novel for publication, i.e. Is the subject matter sellable? Does the story’s tension pervade the entire work? Will your audience understand what you are trying to convey? The answer to all of these questions must be Yes, Yes, and more Yes at every step of the way. Each page, paragraph, and sentence must be able to stand up to the rigors and demands by which we judge the entire work. Like they say, the biggest part of writing is…you guessed it…rewriting.


For those of you just tuning in, allow me to briefly explain the synopsis of my book. At the height of the American Civil War, the destinies of two men are set on a collision course when they and their comrades meet under a flag of truce, only to later find themselves facing one another again on opposing sides of the battlefield. The Long Defeat chronicles the personal stories of a Northern soldier, William S. Book, and a Southern Confederate, Nathaniel Saxon. William S. Book of Boston embodies the Northern man of industry and progressiveness; Nathaniel Saxon of New Orleans represents the Southern soldier of culture and tradition. The novel revolves around these two diametrically opposed protagonists and several of their fellow comrades-in-arms who convey their thoughts and fears in letters written to mothers, wives, and other women back home. Each chapter is written in a third-person objective style and concludes with a letter written by one of the primary characters in the novel. Written from epistolary perspectives, these men describe hard marches, severe hunger, brutal battles, even more brutal hospitals, prisoner exchanges, and even death. In addition to this novel being a historical fiction, I have also gone to great lengths to ensure the authenticity and historical accuracy of the campaigns and armies portrayed in The Long Defeat. For those of you who haven’t had a chance yet to read an excerpt of my book, just give me a ping and I’ll email you a copy. In the meantime, I’ll keep you updated as my novel marches ever closer to publication. Thanks!