My Manuscript Grew a Beard (continued)... (continued)
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I started writing Harmony of Nations in 1970 but didn’t publish it until 2012 – that’s 42 years!
This might set a record - longest ever time to write a novel. (Tell me about your, longer, experience!)
In 1970 I started two novels while stationed on the coast in Italy
On return to the US, I completed one and arranged for an agent to review it. Like most writers, I was fully prepared for instant success.
His response – no novel could be that short.
This felt like a blow to the chest. It was 1974 and I was mired in doctoral studies. Upset, I set the project aside, planning to eventually merge the two novels together to make one with the required length.
I carefully placed the novels in a half-inch thick box that originally held Eaton's Corrasable Bond, erasable typing paper. (In those days a manuscript was typed, retyped, and retyped in full.)
In the years that followed I was stacking my published works in one area, but always wondered where I could find those two novels. They were the only manuscripts I couldn’t find.
In 1999 I was moving from Chicago to North Carolina. I sorted through my collection of typing papers, throwing some away and placing others into a box for the move. Eventually I lifted that old Easton Corrasable Bond box and balanced it, wondering why in the world I would ever need a box of erasable typing paper. I almost threw it away.
Thankfully, my curiosity got the best of me, I was about to toss it when I it occurred to me – why not take a look to find out whether how well this expensive paper had held up over the years. For instance, had it yellowed by now? With that in mind, I cracked the half inch box open and pulled out one of the sheets. Voila! It was a title page of my novel from Italy!
Thrilled and challenged, I plunged back into those novels. Just when my interest started to fade, I heard from an acquisitions editor regarding another novel and persuaded her to wait for my Italian gem.
Finally, in 2010, 40 years after I had started, I reached my final chapters, intimidated by the thought of completion. Further, I felt challenged by trying to tie all the story threads together, for the novel itself covered a 78-year time span!
Nearing the end, I succumbed to writing block. Then I experienced two nights of vivid dreams. I saw the final sequences playing out. Overwhelmed and full of elation, I wrote the last section. It just flowed from the memory of those dreams. Naturally, I still think the conclusion was brilliant!
After a period of tough editing and criticism by my friend Kenneth Mulholland, I revised the work and sent it off. In 2012 my novel, Harmony of Nations: 1943 – 2020, was published in Germany.
You can see the finished work (with no beard) at the website I later created for it www.HarmonyofNations.com.
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Humanity´s existence is on peril. Its worst enemy is not only violence, war or terrorism, but also a profound lack of love, sensibility and empathy. A complete change for all of us is possible, but only will arrive from an innovative thought and a serious research on the possible ways out.
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Publishing New Writers,
October 2015 (no. 1610)
Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123
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