After much procrastination, the rewrite of BOUND FOR GLORY/GLORY BOUND/DEVILS AND DUST has begun. Armed with the suggestions of seven top-flight editors (i.e. the folks who rejected it the first time around), I’ve decided on a course of action to make a character more likeable, events more plausible, ghosts more acceptable, and reunions more realistic. Easier said than done. The first step was to change the title once again. PEOPLE SONG, the new title, will be the fourth, and is actually the title of my short story “People’s Song” published in 1996 that inspired this novel. I wish I could change it to Pat McComick’s lastest, SOLD, which is, of course, what I want to happen.

The most fundamental change is a switch from third person POV to first person. The one consistent complaint from editors (and it was the only consistency) was that the main character, a sixteen-year-old high school student who steals his dead mama’s car, was aloof and unlikeable. I’ve thought of several small scenes that will add more depth to the character, and letting the reader into his head will (hopefully) create more emotional resonance and will let me use some unreliable narrator techniques. How do you make a character more likeable? How do you make a person more likeable?

The name of the main character is also changed, from Bascom to Carter Lee. I never warmed up to the name Bascom. Carter Lee is more apropos to a tall, thin, mullet-wearing redneck, which is who the character is.

Finally, I’ll be adding a major scene at the middle of the second act, when our hero makes to decision to carry on his journey for unselfish, rather than selfish, reasons. No details, except the scene was hatched in Gruhn’s Guitars while looking at “the wall” of antique string instruments.

There’s no timeline for this revision. I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple of houses about SPEED KINGS, so I’ll take it slow. As long as I’m finished with this pass by December 15, I’ll be happy.

And then I can start on YAMABUSHI. Or LOS COLORADOS. I can’t decide. I’ve also decided to turn the DOMINIQUE story into a short YA novel. Maybe that will come next instead.

So many stories, so little time.

Written by : thunderchikin

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  1. newport2newport November 24, 2006 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Thanks for giving us an update on your projects! I like learning from writers who explain what they’re doing with/thinking about their rejections and revision requests.

    I’ve been wondering for a while now what’s been happening with you since you struck out on your own. Sounds like things are moving right along. As always, I’m sending you good wishes. 🙂

  2. thunderchikin November 24, 2006 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve mostly been waiting for editors to reply about SPEED KINGS. One editor at Random House has read the full manuscript and although she gave me expert feedback and said nice things, passed. It’s still out at two other closed houses. I don’t expect to hear anything for several months from them.

    The work life took precedence this Fall, so I told myself that the day I returned from the ALAN conference, I had to get busy. Being in the mix of authors and editors, even if we aren’t talking craft, inspires me to get busy again.

    I also got a stern lecture from a vetern writer about going on without an agent. Something to think about after I finish the next book.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and revising. Thanks for keeping up with me.

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