By Guest Blogger David Krol
I am blessed to be in a family of writers. You have been great fans of my dynamic duo- Victoria and Sam- my kids who have been guest bloggers on our page, but now you get to hear from the person half those kid genes belong to- my husband, David Krol.
Our joke is that he can make filet mignon out of hamburger meat.
But that's no joke, it's a skill to be able to take a story and mold it out of nothing. He has a brilliant mind and is also the most amazing editor, catching everything there is to be caught and has been the biggest champion of my writing and my novel.
I am so honored he agreed to write this post, so I could finish the laundry. Mt. Washmore has been reduced to prairie land. (Thanks babe!)
In 1993, I wrote a short story in which the protagonist dies. He might not have been the nicest protagonist, but he didn’t really deserve to die. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, on board a subway as it crossed the Manhattan Bridge, facing two strangers intent on harming him for no discernible reason. A police detective and his partner later try to decipher the crime.
This short story was going to be the core of a three-part novel, the first and third parts set in New York in the present, the second in New York in the late eighteenth century. And bad things were going to happen to a lot of people. Maybe not your cup of tea, but I enjoy the horror / suspense genre, so I thought I would enjoy writing something in that genre, too.
Over the next 20 years, I re-visited the novel on numerous occasions, completing the first third of the story, adding several characters who met rather gruesome ends. But the next two thirds never really came together.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat down at my computer, once again trying to inspire myself to finish this thing, and found myself wondering why I hadn’t completed it years ago. When I got past the usual "I haven’t had the time" excuse, I thought about the core, the short story, and I realized that the strangers on the train didn't make any sense. And if they didn't make any sense, then the detective and his partner didn't make any sense, either. And then it hit me: the protagonist couldn’t actually be the protagonist, because I had killed him off in the beginning of the story.
In other words, the core of my novel didn't make any sense.
I think I had known this for quite some time, but hadn't wanted to admit it to myself. After all, I couldn’t delete the core! It now spanned several chapters, and the main characters had been written over two decades ago. Deleting that would mean I had been wasting my time.
Or would it? There was only one way to find out. I opened up the latest version of the novel and, before I could think about it, found and deleted the entire core – the so-called protagonist, the train, the detectives, their investigation. (Yes, I saved.) Now what?
With the "core" gone, I was no longer tied to a detective story, which I had never wanted to write; I had always wanted the reader to be the detective. And suddenly an idea came to me. The dead characters – what if they were all connected to each other somehow? And what if they were connected to the past in some way, too?
I typed up some notes, the notes turned into an epilogue, and suddenly the second part of the novel took shape. The dead characters are connected. And so is the "protagonist," who's only a minor character now, but a very important one. He still dies on board that subway train as it crosses the Manhattan Bridge, except now he dies while he's staring out at the New York City skyline -- the eighteenth century version, which is entirely ablaze.
As for why and how he dies, why Manhattan is ablaze in the past, and how he can see that, you'll have to read the novel to find out. When it's finished.
David Krol has been writing for a long time. He enjoys reading young adult fiction and writing stories that aren't suitable for a young adult audience.