The story of Dentville will be an amalgamation of a number of studies I've pursued over the past years, as well as some classic themes that have stirred ever me since I could read. It will be an ecological story with the idea that humanity is destroying its only home in deluded abandon. I believe that current trends in climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and social-political contractions bear this out. This is also a subject that I'm pondering as the theme for a revamped newsletter, but I haven't decided on that yet. Even so, it has infused my other works and will do so for this one.
At the same time, I'm a long time fan of the hero's journey. From the Lord of the Rings, to Star Wars, to Dune, to the story of David in the Bible, I've been fascinated with stories based on the development of the protagonist from naive youth to eager seeker to seasoned veteran. That's a classic theme that comes out of people's journeys through life. We all follow this road. We develop and learn from it, or we give up. Giving up is a strong temptation and I have a few times. But something has always pulled me back into the journey--the love of my soulmate, love of children, the gut feeling that it is always better for life to go on. These feelings will infuse Dentville.
And as I develop this story to be realized in novel form, I hope to chart my progress in these journal entries and on the Dentville page. I have expanded the story greatly from the original work I did for the novel-writing correspondence course I took some years ago (see Long Ridge Writer's Group). I've done a lot of character work and am currently working on research, timelines and backgrounds. Then I'll be storyboarding which is the precursor to drafting. That's all a lot easier to say than it is to do.
I want to finish it all over the coming year (yes, that is ambitious since I can't do this full time), and to launch that journey I've created the Dentville page on this website. It will be a teaser for the novel and a revelation of my vision as the muse sings. As I pondered over the format for this page, I knew I had to have a strong illustration to build it around. Prose, no matter how eloquent, would not be enough. Clip-art and no-royalty photos were inadequate, and I couldn't afford to hire actors, so I looked for an artist.
After some searching, the muse led me to Debra Grayson's New Day Project website. I contacted Debra and gave her my specifications for the image I wanted to convey the spirit of the story. She returned the wonderful picture on the Dentville page. It shows my protagonist, Zane, on horseback, riding through the crumbled ruins of our world--a world he only imagines with superstitious awe. Such was the thoroughness of the demise of our high-tech world that Zane doesn't realize that the people he considers near-gods and refers to as "the ancients" lived a mere two hundred years before him. He rides through his world among the remains of ours towards a sunrise, or maybe it's a sunset. Is humanity recovering from its near-extinction, or continuing down the dark path to its fatal end? Even in Zane's time, that remains to be seen.
Thanks for a great picture, Debra. Thanks to those of you following this website and the Dentville project. Here we go...
See Debra Grayson's artwork at New Day Project.