The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
I took the first step this past week.
For anyone who missed my initial blog entry, here’s the deal. I’ve embarked on a journey this summer that will involve a first for me—rereading all the books in the Cork O’Connor series. My perspective has always been that once a book is finished and published, what’s the use in going back over it? There’s been a good deal of hullabaloo recently regarding Jeffrey Archer’s reworking of his bestselling saga Kane and Abel. Frankly, I don’t understand his decision. Why spend time repaving an old road when there’s lots of country still ahead to explore?
In my own journey, I don’t intend to make any changes. I’m just an observer. I’m interested in revisiting the stories I left behind to see if my memory of them matches their reality. Honestly, many of the details of the books are vague things to me now, lost in the mist of the past. So this is a journey of reacquaintance, not reworking.
This week I began reading Iron Lake, my first published novel and the first entry in the Cork O’Connor series. I’m halfway through the book and here are my initial reactions, taken directly from the notes I’ve been making as I read:
Love this prologue.
This is a reference to the opening scene, in which a young Cork O’Connor goes on a bear hunt that helps end his grieving over the death of his father. This is a scene that I wrote when I was nearing the end of the book, at the suggestion of my writer’s critique group. A great suggestion.
Oh, Jesus, Henry Meloux is so different.
Henry, a very old Ojibwe Mide, is my favorite character in the series. Much of who he is in the stories is already there (his humor particularly), but in the first few scenes he’s roughly drawn and in ways that I don’t visualize when I write him now.
Moves a little slowly.
I’ve learned that in the genre, pace is everything and anything that slows pace ought to end up on the cutting room floor. There’s plenty here that drags the pace down. Which is interesting, because, at my agent’s suggestion, I cut the initial manuscript by one hundred and twenty pages to move the story along more rapidly. I thought I’d done a good job. I could have done better.
Hmmm…the geography is not as I see it now.
The town of Aurora, the configuration of Iron Lake, the details of the locations on the reservation and in Tamarack County are not now in my imagination as I created them back in the 90s. Damn, I should keep a black book of all details so that they don’t change!
That’s it for now. I’m sending some postcards along so that those of you who have never seen the North Country of Minnesota might understand the beautiful place that is the home of Cork O’Connor.