My current work in progress is Dreams, the fourth chapter of The Great Ones. But it wasn't always the fourth chapter. It wasn't always a book.
I wrote the first version as a screenplay in 2001, as a direct sequel to Joe (also a screenplay at the time). I was living in in New Jersey and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Granted, I'd known since Ms. Baldwin's class in the second grade that I was going to be a writer, but I'd shifted through several different majors in college, trying to figure out how a degree was going to fit in with my dreams (no pun intended). I'd started out in radio/TV/film, then went to computer science, then journalism, and I was currently working on my associate's in business at Raritan Valley Community College. I'd written Joe in the spring semester, and over the summer, on a month-long road trip from New Jersey to Texas to Florida, I lost my girlfriend and nearly lost my car when it decided to die on me in the middle of Nowhere, Georgia. I left it there and took a Greyhound bus back to NJ, then another bus back to GA when the mechanics had it running again. It was, well, I've had better summers.
I returned to school with vigor and focus. Early in the semester, I was supposed to drive to Newark airport after school to pick up my parents, who had been visiting my sister in Texas. Well, that didn't happen because Al-Qaeda hijacked a plane out of Newark that day, which eventually crashed nearby in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Everything screeched to a halt nationwide, but especially in the area where I lived.
It was a terrible year for these reasons and others, and I decided I needed to do something to make it better. I spent the rest of the semester studying hard (4.0 GPA) and writing a new script. Joe ended in a very tragic place, and so the sequel would begin in a similar dark place and slowly, slowly, brighten. I created a new character, a new setting, and the story played out on its own until midway through, when it intersected with Joe and both stories continued as one. I ran through dozens of titles as I wrote, never landing on one that worked, that did it justice. And then, literally as the last sentence appeared on my screen, I knew the title. There could be no other.
Dreams sat on my hard drive and in a few printed copies for many years as I wrote four more scripts in the story: Teller of Tales, Omnipotent Entertainment, Destiny Archer, and Heaven's Hands. An independently produced movie version of Joe followed. We shot twenty-three minutes of it, anyway. And when I decided to change my major from radio/television/film (again) to English, my first concern was: can I turn my screenplays into books? I had other books in summary form or draft form, but I was concerned about these. So in 2008 (it takes a long time to graduate when you keep changing majors and making movies), I spent three months writing the first (novel) draft of Joe, followed immediately by another two months writing the first draft of Freshmankind. Weston followed in 2009. Parts 2, 3, and 1. In 2010, Dreams turned into a novel (draft) as well, part 4. The first draft of part 5 (The Archers, TBD) followed in 2012, and I began the process of developing and drafting, off and on, over the years.
Finally in 2016, I began the second draft of Dreams. It was a slow process for most of the time since, but it's coming along quickly now. On December 26, 2018, I'll finally walk away from it and let you be the judge. It is the chapter in which everything comes together - my favorite chapter. I think it will be yours as well.
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