Novel in Progress: Nero’s FIddle


June 18th seems to be something of a magical date for me. It’s already cause for celebration: one year ago on that date I had a heart attack. That makes the date a poignant reminder that life is short. 

This past June 18th (at 2 a.m., no less) I completed the first draft of Nero’s Fiddle, a novel I began writing a couple months after getting out of the hospital. The tome currently weighs in at a hefty 150,000 words. 

My characters (two women and two children) have made it from Cleveland, Georgia to Washington, DC, by foot 99.9% of the way, within the allotted time frame: 25 days. 

It wasn’t easy. 

They’ve blown up a gas tank, were attacked by feral dogs, were almost raped and were held captive for a few days by some unscrupulous characters. All for a cause. 

They had to have a cause. Without a cause, what would have been the point? 

Writing the first draft was the easy part. The real work lies ahead: proofreading, editing and rewriting. Believe it or not, there is more to add than there is to cut. 

In July my best friend and I (also named Penny) are driving the route my characters took. This will enable me to supply geographical descriptions and add names of towns they will pass through. These descriptions guarantee additional word count. 

There will be the rewriting of a number of sections as well as some additional drama to add. I suspect this will be a larger tome than I initially thought it would be. 

I’m not attempting to set some word count world record which simply isn’t possible. There are just so many things that happen to these characters that this cannot be a simple three-hundred page standard-sized paperback. 

Why do these things happen? That’s the reveal I’m not revealing. 

Got work to do. Update later.


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