I’ve been asked often in the last several months whether I’m working on a third novel. I figured this is as good a time as any to give you, my small but mighty band of followers, an update on novel #3. Yes, I am writing another novel. I spent a good portion of the holidays sequestered in our third floor library mapping out the story that’s been steeping in my head for over a year. You may recall that I am a big outliner. I like to know virtually everything about the story, the characters, the conflicts, the plot points, the settings, etc., before I write the first word of the manuscript. I eventually break it down chapter-by-chapter with two or three pages of bullet points for each. I do this so that when I’m ready to start the actual manuscript, I can really focus on the writing, rather than on thinking through what happens next. My outline for The High Road was 65 pages long. I don’t think my outine for novel #3 will be quite that long when it’s finally done.
There are two working titles competing in my head these days. Neither may survive the writing/editing/publishing journey, but for what it’s worth, they are, Making Space, and Launch or Lunch? I like both of these for different reasons. Both have a direct connection to the story (which is always a good idea!). Making Space is more subtle, but Launch or Lunch? has the added benefit of being shortened to LOL, which I hope will be a fitting abbreviation. In any event, I find it helpful to have working titles, if only as mental placeholders.
As I think I’ve mentioned in this space before, this is not the third volume in the exploits of Angus McLintock and Daniel Addison. I’m sure I’ll come back to these two old friends in the future, but this novel bids at least a temporary farewell to Cumberland, politics, and, yes, the hovercraft. Having said that, I do hope readers will find this new novel as funny, and even as familiar, as The Best Laid Plans and The High Road. There are other similarities beyond humour. I’ll still be writing in the first person through a narrator who is very close to, but not always at the epicentre of, the story. There’s also another protaganist to whom the narrator is unavoidably tethered. Settings for the story include Toronto, Washington, New York, the interior of BC, Florida, and briefly, even a very, very remote location seldom visited in Canlit. Topics to be explored include the public relations business, the intrepid bush pilots of the British Columbia wilderness, our aging population, Canada-U.S. relations, and North American society’s apparently fading interest in the space program. That’s as far as I think I should go in describing it.
As a PR agency veteran in my day job, some of my colleagues may be alarmed that I intend to take nasty shots at my own profession. They need not fear. There will certainly be satire, but as you can imagine, I’m a big believer in the value that professional and strategic public relations and communications offer. There’s no question that we’ll have some laughs along the way, but I’m not out to bite the hand that feeds me. The outline for Making Space/Launch or Lunch? is nearly finished. I hope to be writing the manuscript by the end of the month. I’ll keep you posted…