James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series

LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY: Now in Submission Shape!

I’m pleased to report that a couple of days shy of my spring deadline I’ve completed a fresh revision, the fourth full draft, of LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY, a new manuscript I wrote last summer. I come to the end of this particular cycle of the creative process feeling that, for the moment, at least, I’ve written and revised this piece to the best of my abilities.

The logline: Tasked with persuading a reluctant rock star to accept a public honor from their mutual South Carolina hometown, a blocked novelist, Cort Beauchamp, gets his creative and romantic mojo back. About 110,000 words. 

The story covers much more ground than that, though—in fact, the rock star himself doesn’t actually appear for the first half. Instead, we enjoy a build to that moment layered with many smaller conflicts, including romantic entanglements, the narrator’s struggle with alcohol recovery, another character’s similar and less successful journey, the loss of the character’s mentor and the possibly necessity of him taking her leadership role in the arts community, and most of all the uncovering of the tragedies and secrets that are preventing Cort from writing a new book.

Will LTGPA need more work? Of course. Is it perfect? They never are. Are there a couple of dangling plot threads that don’t fully play out? Perhaps, but I don’t think they need to be explored. Are there too many plot threads overall? Maybe, but I’ve worked hard to make the various elements of this many-charactered narrative all fit and flow together as seamlessly as I can. I’ve described the tone of the story as a ‘literary, southern-fried Woody Allen movie,’ but at the end of the revision, I thought that the narrative had more the feel of a Robert Altman film, filled with dozens of characters moving in and out of the protagonist’s sphere, heart, and mind, the impacts they have on his life overlapping like dialogue in one of Altman’s naturalistic scenes. I’d always thought of my upcoming multi-charactered South Carolina small town epic DIXIANA as my ‘Altman,’ but I think with LTGPA I may have already realized that particular artistic conceit.

In any case, the manuscript is now out to beta-readers, the 2013 Faulkner-Wisdom competition, as well as my agent at Inklings Literary, Michelle L Johnson, who’ll be pleased to know that a key DOGS OF PARSONS HOLLOW character—one who manages to survive the events of DOGS, obviously—makes a cameo appearance late in the text of LET THE GLORY PASS AWAY.

Once I get some reader reactions, I’ll update this post.

Illustrator-drawing-typewriter

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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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