I Think I’m Starting a Novel

No title yet. This is a preface which will then shift back to events of 1925.

Probably not enough to give any sense of where it’s going. But is what’s here good, bad, indifferent? Suggestions?



Paul rode beside a stranger in a white 1958 Dodge farm truck with fencing high around the bed. In back were a refrigerator, chest of drawers and kitchen table with chairs. Paul stared ahead at the Ford Country Squire which held his parents and brothers. He saw occasional movement beyond the piled bags of clothing, but all was in silhouette.

Earlier that day Paul had stood in the middle of an ant colony of activity, everyone scurrying, dismantling the familiar and placing it on wheels. His father, Owen, boomed out directions. His mother Darla kept her thoughts to herself while carrying boxes. Brothers Joe and David carried smaller items, knocked against each other in perpetual sibling rivalry. He was the one ant who had no job, no knowledge of the secret force compelling the others.

Paul hung back in silence until ushered to the passenger door of the truck. It loomed high above. He climbed toward the stranger in the driver’s seat who greeted him with a forced smile. The shapeless man was unshaven and glistened in the heat, wearing a greasy, white tee-shirt, damp with perspiration and stretched around a vast, overhanging belly. If the man’s name had been mentioned, it was lost in the shock of departure.

As the city disappeared and fields grew around them, the man attempted friendly conversation. “You’ll like it on the farm.  Good place for a boy to grow.”

Paul said nothing, just nodded and looked down at the black floor mat beyond his dangling feet.

Occasionally glancing at the passing fields, Paul focused on the station wagon a tantalizing fifty feet away, imagined his family engaged in loving talk. Years later he knew he’d been spared more yelling, fierce recriminations and a far darker silence than he endured here. This was Paul’s first initiation into the world of unspoken agendas, of unforeseen consequences. The trail stretched back nearly fifty years.


15 thoughts on “I Think I’m Starting a Novel

  1. Matt, you have the beginnings of strong character development; solid, yet minimal dialogue; concise and exceptional description (the poet in you coming through!); and enough meat to keep the reader wanting more. A sound beginning!

  2. JO- Nope to the numbers thing. Only ten and below need be written. Here’s a link, Joe:


    Matt- You did a good set up- raised some questions, gave a little insight into the characters, have begun to develop setting. I think you can do this.

    On another small note- I know you are just throwing this out there so you don;t want to be picked on for minor things but it’s good to stay alert: you say the truck driver was a stranger- then later say “This stranger had no name Paul knew” which is a little redundant. We don’t know strangers’ names, as a rule. There is a disconnect- like you are trying to make the driver a mysterious or important character- but having him both a stranger- and potentially someone who Paul forgot is kind of untidy. See what I mean? I ASSUME the driver is significant or he would not have had a forced smile. If he is not significant- or the forced smile really has no explanation later on or a place to go- I wouldn’t dwell there/

    So– you HAVE caught my attention :-))

    Best of luck

  3. Oh geez Matt, can you delete that, it was supposed to say I’m NOW waiting for more. Sorry and mortified! Seriously I am waiting for more!

  4. I have no suggestions, this is good by itself, I think. I hope to finish the story one day. Goode luck 🙂

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