No further bets. I’ve had all the reviews and commentary I can use on my first draft, and I’ve thought and mulled and pondered and teased and rubbed and rung bells and talked and thought some more. I have the revisions I want to make to the plot in my head. Having had to describe the novel to lots of people in the past few weeks I think I finally have the teaser and the synopsis reduced into words that might prompt a reader (or agent, in this case) to pick it up.
The long blurb
We all have our demons to fight; we all have our burdens to bear. Monk Quixote is the story of how two estranged men – father and son – deal with theirs.
Tom Esher’s comfortable muddle of a life is turned upside-down by the dying wish of Frank, his estranged father – a request that will lead Tom on a quest – for understanding, forgiveness, and redemption.
He travels from his safe, private, unique universe of rules and routines that exist mostly in his head, into Frank’s world – full of strange, chaotic people in unfamiliar places – where myths and hopes are bound up in near-sacred objects, talismans and books…and people drink a lot.
At the same time, he will try to juggle his job, his ‘not sure where this is going’ relationship, his ‘normal’ friends and the minimum of basic housekeeping with the amount of time he spends in an entirely virtual world – where he re-invents himself as Monk Quixote, a silver-furred hero that is everything that he is not.
Through a series of journeys, intoxications and chance encounters, Tom uncovers secrets about his father that paint both of them in a new and occasionally startling light – including discovering a treasure more precious to Tom than, well, levelling up as Monk Quixote will ever be.
By finally accepting the series of coincidences and their consequences that have led to his present, Tom learns to forgive himself for some of the choices he has made in his life. In doing so, he frees himself from some of the chains he has unwittingly tied himself to…
How much of this is deliberate on Frank’s part, and how much is simply the Gods of Irony playing with Tom, is left to the reader to decide.
So now all I have to do is take my writing axe and go lop down some adverbs, hone some characters and clear the path for my plot a little. On the plus side, there’s relatively little re-writing. On the minus side, my track record with tweaking is not great – I am one of the few editors I know whose word count increases when they edit.
I have been listening to a Spanish language Don Quixote audiobook, so I must try not to write the word ‘castanets’ too often in my editing window. I have also just started the excellent The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas, so if I suddenly introduce some apostles and beech trees, well, we’ll know where they came from…
Ok. Enough now. Prevarication upon displacement avoidance upon avoidance tactic. I have five days to get this draft out to agents before my 38th birthday.
Ladies and gentlemen, no further bets.
Wish me luck.