James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

Halfway to DIXIANA

Novel #8, now underway for a month… and it’s exciting to report that June finds me sitting on a partial MS of just over 85,000 words, which is starting to feel somewhat like, well, halfway.


Dixiana Depot 2

In any case, after years of thought, piles of notes, an earlier attempt, and a writing retreat to get my mind, body, and spirit into sparring shape, this ambitious Southern literary novel I’m calling DIXIANA is well underway.

This one’s going to be a bit longer than the last couple of manuscripts (like LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY and DOGS OF PARSONS HOLLOW) mainly because its focus includes two primary and six supporting POV characters. If I’m to weave them all effectively into the narrative tapestry I have in mind for the finished piece, their voices and perspectives are going to take a while, and no small measure of words, to sort through.

The plot, however, is relatively simple—a successful businessman and prodigal son of Edgewater County, redneck renaissance man Roy Earl Pettus (a key supporting character in MANSION OF HIGH GHOSTS), inherits The Dixiana, his grandfather’s semi-famous honkytonk, after which he embarks on a hubristic, humorous, and ultimately tragic campaign to remake his dying hometown in what he sees as his own sophisticated, modern, moneyed image.

As far as the the potential length goes, it’s worth noting that a first draft of a piece like this is bound to be longer than the polished shelf-sitter that eventually awaits us down the line of any number of drafts (and maybe years, sometimes). For now, I’m pleased to report that my level of commitment, inspiration, and productivity on this project bests any time I can remember in my ongoing, increasingly successful writing career, and if that’s not a feeling worth blogging about, then I don’t know what would be.

I’ll post more about this project once I have a first draft in hand, when I’ll go into more depth about the other characters and plot details. Could be a month, could be the end of the summer before I get this first draft in hand, but if in the interim the followers of this blog find that the posts are fewer and farther between, those regular readers should take heart in knowing that my writing time is being well spent traversing the country roads, honkytonks, and back porches of DIXIANA. This journey is of an unknown duration; we’ll get there when we get there.

Dixana Exit Sign

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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