I’ve settled on the novel project that most needs me right now, or at the least the one which won’t let me go. It’s Caudal Ballad, a title that might change later, but works for me at the moment.
I described the elevator pitch for it as “Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, if it was about ghosts and women, and was written by the Illuminati,” on Twitter and Facebook, and got several responses of, basically, “Take my money!” so I’m feeling pretty good about that.
Of course, an elevator pitch doesn’t tell much more than how marketing might sell it, so here’s the expanded version:
It’s the story of several people who find themselves in the same small NY college town when weird and bad things happen.
The story is told mostly chronologically, but not quite.
Interspersed with the tale are quotes and information about printing and typesetting in early America. These bits are relevant to the story. Eventually.
It’s about ghosts.
It’s about physics.
It’s about the astronomical theory of the multiverse.
It’s about what it’s like to be a woman trying to survive alone, at the margins of society, with no family or money or support.
It’s about the way we move through the world when we’re suffering from mental illness, or an excess of dead people, or both.
It’s about the relationship between townies who are stuck in place, and well-funded grad students who are in town to attend an Ivy, and aren’t limited by anything at all.
Some of the extra bits between chapters are architectural drawings, notes from town meetings a hundred years ago, or scribbles on the backs of postcards. Those bits are mostly relevant, too.
It’s about the invisible city on the other side of your town that, if you can get to, you’ll never come back from.
It’s about memories and self-destructive behavior and how “self-defense” doesn’t always look that way from the outside.
It’s about the monster under the bed.
It’s about sex and money and other kinds of power.
But mostly it’s about ghosts.
I’m going to post excerpts to my Patreon over the next few months as I finish up my current draft, and share thoughts about the process. If you want to follow along, and throw a few dollars my way so I can keep writing, please consider joining me there.