My Work in Progress: Response to a Prompt Chain

J. D. McLaughlin tagged me recently in a post she wrote last week. Now it is my turn to respond to said prompt/questions (Make sure you go read hers as well.)

And now, unto the post.

1: What is the working title of one of your current stories?

I’ve decided to answer these questions about my novel as opposed to one of my short stories. My current “Number One” novel, that is to say the one that is furthest along, (working on the 5th draft now) is called Flowers for Dionysus. At least it has been for a while. That might change.

2: Where did the idea come from for the story?

Several places, in fact. I had come to the point where I thought it was time to try a novel. This was just less than four years ago. During that time a few events happened within the same few months, all of which contributed to the idea. Among other things, these events were:

– Reading Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell by Pat Murphy.

– Attending an okay production of Taming of the Shrew at a nearby park.

– Finding something left over from that production in the park the following day.

-Being in Romeo and Juliet at a local community theatre.

3: What genre does it fall under?

This is tricky. Answering this vital question has been a thorn in my side almost from the beginning. I’ve researched and consulted with others on it. At various points I’ve thought it was low-fantasy, commercial fiction with fantasy elements, urban fantasy, magical realism, mythic fantasy, just plain fantasy or just plain commercial fiction. As of now, I’m still not sure how to classify it for marketing purposes. It happens to defy easy genre classification.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m not much in favor of people writing books specifically with the idea of them becoming movies some day. I read many writing blogs that tend to assume your ultimate goal as a fiction writer is to one day sell the movie rights to your work, and that just isn’t the case.

In certain scenes in my novel, I may have envisioned them playing out via certain actors, but that’s a far cry fro my choosing actors to play in the story of my novel. It happens naturally sometimes, but I try not to think too much about this. (Even if the book takes off, and I allowed a movie to be made, I’d have zero input on who played whom anyway.)

You have to write a story, and if movies come along one day, (and your willing to let the movie eviscerate your original concept) deal with it when the time comes.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

When a disillusioned community theatre actor reluctantly comes out of retirement to help an old friend with her troubled production,  his faith in acting (and himself) is restored through a series of supernatural encounters in and around the local playhouse.

6: Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?

I don’t know yet. I’ve researched both approaches, and in the end, you have to do all of the selling work all by yourself whether you end up self-publishing or going the traditional route. Right now I’m leaning towards giving self-publishing and selling a try, and the traditional way can take years, and I’ve already spent years on this project. Plus, in the traditional method, I have to try to impress one single overworked literary agent. If I self publish, I can target my efforts to the specific type of people who would enjoy this book. People that don’t fall into tidy marketing categories.

But I am still researching agents and keeping a list of them, should I choose that path.

7: How long has the editing taken you?

Each draft is a quicker experience. Plus I take intentional breaks between drafts. Total, from the end of the first draft to now, I’ve been editing the work for about three years.

8: What other stories would you compare it to within your genre?

I dislike that everyone has to do this with their work. What if it doesn’t remind someone of something old? But if I had to pick something, I’d once again say Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, though that book is in a different genre than my own. (Hence part of the problem I have with genres and comparisons.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this story?

This was sort of answered in question number two, was it not?

But to elaborate a bit, I can say that some of my experiences in theatre certainly pushed my along. I wanted to capture something that spoke to the potential good that the arts in general, and theatre in particular can do in the lives of people and communities. My own life has been changed because of it over the years, and I wanted to explore a story wherein similar things affected people in a positive way.

There is also the fact that I’m a bit of a seeker; I’m always on the look out for signs from the universe or the Divine.

10: What else about your story might pique the reader’s interest?

There isn’t any sex in it. Nor is there violence…I explore the truth behind religion without endorsing any of them…though by no means unique, community theatre as a setting is different enough from the norm to attract an interest from those who have been a part of it, but relatable enough to those who never have been…there are some extra touches thrown in for those who do know all about the community theatre life, however.

So, there are my answers. I now tag fellow fiction writer, J. Lea Lopez, in hopes she will continue this chain!


  1. I’m glad to have finally had a chance to read this! I love how much thought you’ve put into your work and would be interested in reading it when it’s done 🙂

    I also fully agree with your response to #6! It’s part of what makes that decision harder. I at least have quite a while until I’m sure!

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