James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

Author News Roundup: February 2016

For the last month or two I realize that it has been quiet around good old Edgewater County Confidential  . . . apologies. But behind the scenes, rest assured that much has been stewing and brewing and coming together:

First, a glimpse of the future—the first piece of key art for LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY! Setting up the future books in the official Edgewater County Series as it does, it has become clear that this manuscript should emerge as the next novel coming from your (mostly) faithful blogging scribe.

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Set in my lightly fictionalized version of Columbia, SC (as well as fully imaginary Edgewater County to the north of the city), this novel represents my attempt to craft a mainstream, mostly light-of-spirit “literary Woody Allen movie.” The story, featuring a middle-aged author seeking to understand his place in the firmament amidst a local arts community revival, is obviously close to my own experience . . . but then, such is true of all my work.

As of this posting it seems that LTGPA, an earlier draft of which made the shortlist in the 2013 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, will likely come to fruition as a strictly self-published offering, but a small-press partner may yet emerge. For now, however, I’m forging ahead with my editorial and design team (thank you Elizabeth Leverton and Marc Cardwell), the initial fruits of which may be seen above.

Item #2: Truthfully, I hadn’t planned to make any promo art for the book just yet, but last week I received a wonderful opportunity: an invitation to pitch workshops as part of Deckle Edge, the brand-spanking new South Carolina literary festival! Without a new title to promote, I had hoped this year simply to attend and support; now, I can do so in a much more direct and useful manner to the festival and community. Terrific news.

Honored and gratified (to say the least), I pitched three different and specific workshop ideas—the discipline of writing, crafting effective dialogue, or world-building, each of which would be expanded versions of the “modules” I use in Storytelling Workshop, a continuing education course I teach at Midlands Technical College (more to come on the fall signups for that class, the dates for which will drop in mid-March).

The steering committee’s pick of the three?

THE PRINCIPLE OF MINIMAL DEPARTURE: World Building in “Edgewater County”

Instructor:       James D. McCallister

When:              Friday 10 – 11:30

Where:            USC Press Office, 1600 Hampton Street

About the Workshop: 

In this workshop participants will explore the construction of an interconnected and consistent fictional universe as understood through the concepts of minimal and maximal departure from ordinary reality.  The outcome/product of this workshop will be a thorough understanding of strategies for imagining, defining, populating, and describing a fictional but consistent “world platform” on which to build long-form or serialized narratives. This workshop is best suited for novices, novelists, and writers who are blocked.

Needless to say, I hope to see many faces in this workshop, which will analyze and discuss my approach to designing the interconnecting books, published and otherwise, that depict the Edgewater County “universe.” We’ll also discuss well-known examples of more fanciful narrative settings, such as Frank Herbert’s Dune series, the Hunger Games, and so forth.

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As for the event itself, intended as successor to the late, lamented SC Book Festival at which so much of my career advancement has taken place, Deckle Edge represents a community-driven effort, one that all involved hope will prove as long-lived as it is appreciated by the local and regional reading public, aspiring writers, and supporters of the arts. See you all there.

And in the meantime, stay tuned for more news about LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY, as well as its followup, DIXIANA—after an exceedingly trying and difficult 2015, both personally as well as professionally, my writer’s journey again seems to have a stiff wind at its back. Many thanks to all my readers, advocates, friends and family for their continued support and encouragement!

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About dmac

James D. McCallister is a South Carolina author of novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction. His latest book, a story collection called The Year They Canceled Christmas, releases in November 2017.

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