James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

DIXIANA . . . Done!

But you know how that goes. In the writing game, it’s premature to call anything ‘done’ until the final product is published.

In this case, by completion we mean that I’ve managed to get all scenes written for what I think of as the ‘second draft,’ but that in reality represents the first comprehensively detailed and finished version of this story. At just over a thousand pages (280,000 words), the ‘first draft,’ completed last August, now resides in the shadow of the current, 1500 page version, a whopping 405,000 words.

New! Improved! It’s DIXIANA, now fully one-third larger! I should get a big exploding star sticker made for this manuscript.

Draft one, meet your big brother, draft two.

Draft one, meet your big brother, draft two.

So, is there actual news about this project otherwise? Or is this post about horn-tooting?

Maybe a little of both. The new-news, besides getting through this draft about a week before my deadline, is that I’ve come to terms with the notion that this ‘saga,’ as I’m now calling DIXIANA, will have to be marketed and presented serially. To this end, I’ve separated the 1,500 page novel, already divided into eight parts, into three distinct volumes:

DIXIANA

DIXIANA, Vol 2: HONKYTONK MAN

and

DIXIANA, Vol 3: END STATE MAINTENANCE

The decision on whether to further divide this literary material into four volumes, a strong possibility, is pending. Trilogies seem popular, so perhaps we’ll stick to that format.

In any case, to have arrived at this moment of triumphal ‘completion’ over twenty years since I first had an inkling of writing this particular project (or thirty years, if one wishes to go back to my adolescence, and with it my initial desire to become a literary novelist producing work of this scope and caliber) feels like an enormous accomplishment . . . or I’m sure it will, as soon as my emotions settle and the reality sinks in.

What’s next?

Now, I’ll be doing a careful read-through of the entire manuscript, taking notes and preparing what will be called the third draft, which I should have in hand before the end of the summer. While the composition period of this project has been quite magical and fulfilling, with the editorial process at hand, the real work, and fun, stands poised to begin.

Okay. I think it’s sinking in. A year ago I left my home for a time to sit down and finally write this dream project, I began by feeling completely uncertain about finding the strength within myself to get through this work—my life’s work. But today, seeing the manuscript sitting on the desk in front of me, I can report to you all that, yeah, I’m feeling a wee bit accomplished.

Stay tuned for the call to go out for beta-readers. DIXIANA LIVES!

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.

7 Replies

  1. It always feels good to complete something you have been working on for so long huh? ^_^

  2. Cathy Stayman

    How exciting! Looking forward to hearing more and reading.

  3. Nancy Brock

    Congratulations and best wishes

  4. Congratulations! As you well know, I’ve been waiting on this one since way back in the days of “The Pettus Bates Blood Feud”. Hope it turns out to be everything you’ve hoped and dreamed – and worked – for it to be.

  5. Thank you, Scott! Seems like only yesterday I was sitting at the USC desk talking to you about this stuff. The edit of the first 100 pages has gone really well.

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