The Late Great American Novel

Back in July of last year I posted a list of the 24 things I figured a writer needed to include in his (or her) book to make it qualify as the next Great American Novel.

Well, this year – or the last few weeks specifically – I’ve been busy writing away on a project I’m calling The Late Great American Novel. It seemed like a good time to revisit my list and see how my novel matches up… [my comments are between the brackets – red mean “not done” and green means “check”]

  1. a revolutionary beginning – [no, but I’m ok with that…]
  2. a charming “coming-of-age” story [ not so charming, but yes – got that]
  3. a romance [oh yes]
  4. a “come-from-behind” victory [still to be written]
  5. a hero with a flashing smile and twinkling eyes [ no flashing smile but the main character uses “sparkly eye techniques”]
  6. a “gut-busting” success [not yet]
  7. a “rags-to-riches” saga [in process]
  8. an “us and them” struggle [big time]
  9. a religious background [very big time]
  10. a rapture prediction [oh yes, coming up in the next chapter]
  11. guns, car chases and lots of explosions [lots of violence]
  12. manifest destiny and American exceptionalism [but of course]
  13. scapegoats, super villains and other monsters [more than enough…]
  14. flags waving and lots of red, white and blue [not so much – need some work here]
  15. cowboys and indians [not yet]
  16. terrorists and warmongers [hell yeah]
  17. greed, sex, gossip and lies [oh hell yeah]
  18. the American dream of home ownership [no so much]
  19. cars, highways and road-trips [yes, yes and yes]
  20. good cops, bad cops and buddy cops [not yet]
  21. football, basketball, baseball and ultimate fighting [very little]
  22. a ride into the sunset [yup]
  23. a twist at the end of the story [were not there yet…]
  24. a sequel [probably]

That’s 14 out of the 24 so far, and several more are already in the works. Of course, I am at Chapter 43 in part 5 of the book right now, so we’ve covered a lot of territory.

So What’s It About?

My story concerns a man named Jerry (not his real name) who does not know who he is, what he’s doing, or where he’s going – but he’s on the run.

We also have a corrupt Reverend down in Chihuahua Mexico who’s going to find himself in the middle of a religious revival.

People seemed to die off in every other chapter – the death toll is pretty high at this point.

And then there are all the other issues, including; quantum-Pentecostals, the end of the age, the mysteries of consciousness, Lizard people, The Illuminated Ones, secret societies, alternative history, UFO’s, a financial crisis and war – among other things.

To give you an idea of what the story feels like, I would best describe the flavor of the novel as: “Imagine a Tom Robbins novel written by Kurt Vonnegut.”

I’m thinking about serializing the story once the end is in sight. We’ll see how that goes…

Added Late – I like this from Wikipedia

The “Great American Novel” is the concept of a novel that is distinguished in both craft and theme as being the most accurate representative of the zeitgeist in the United States at the time of its writing.

It is presumed to be written by an American author who is knowledgeable about the state, culture, and perspective of the common American citizen.

The author uses the literary work to identify and exhibit the language used by the American people of the time and to capture the unique American experience, especially as it is perceived for the time.

In historical terms, it is sometimes equated as being the American response to the national epic.


Until later, best of health.

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