Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What Some of My Notes and Outlining Looks Like

Here's one chapter from the prequel. I've got a nice draft of it already written that I'm planning to bring to WriteOn Joliet Thursday night.

I didn't use every element here (if you can decipher it, perfectly clear to me), but it gave me the skeleton and the memory jogs I needed to write the chapter. Even Mr. Doctorow couldn't deny this is writing. ;)

BTW, this outline built up over time. I have less developed ones, such as this one:

Before the Blood Kellen’s Story Chapter 1: Ashes

CHAPTER 1: ASHES. Background of Kellen’s life. Who his parents were and what happened to father and grandfather.

 Kellen’s early years, up to meeting John and offering successs. Then learns of John’s engagement to Bryony Marseilles. (30,000) Kleen only new hardship and privation. Childhodo home, knocked up the neighbor’s girl, married her, and she faithfully produced a new offspring every nine to ten months. Some lived, some didn’t, but it was all the same to Kellen. There were still too many mouths to feed.


 Back story of Kellen’s parents. Where is his grandfather and father. Both died in 30 year war or the events leading up to it. Describe it with  history.

 Geography and history of the area. Who were Kellen’s parents? What was their history? Poor people? Landowners that lost it? Create a background for them.

Father is killed.

Name glanced at name and rested her hand on her swollen belly.

Before the Blood. John’s Story. Chapter 2: Tasting Immortality

Grows up with chubby Nora, name her parents. Mom is cook, dad is driver.

CHAPTER 2: TASTING IMMORTALITY. John’s earliest years. Fell asleep as a toddler to the drones of Hail Mary’s while his mother fingered her rosary beads by the flickering firelight.. Altar boy to high Roman masses Father strict and cold; mother gentle and herb-growing. Mr resp all that is good and pure int eh world; father judgment and high standada , discipline, but father set his sights aas the armk he would reach and surpass. Delighted with a 3 year old delight at how make grown servants scurry to honor his every beck and call. Mr. played piano as part of her training, but John had a natural instinct for the instrument from an early age. Took a whooping for crying on about some trifle. Developed a hatred and rivalry for father after that. Learns that Granny Spencer knows about poisons as she scuttles abtu cottage bring her her dinner which she eats like a wild naimal, wipes mouth back of sleeve, warns him to stay away from bryony, invasive, to gardens, to stock, to hyuman, beautiful to behyuold but deadly to ingest. Ave Maria.


(Reserach God and his sattriutes. Harder ones belong to Dad, softer ones to mom. She also grows lots of plnts and herbs, so when he is sick she is also the god that heals. FAther rep the scinetici rational part of God; mother reps the myseery. open to latenertiv eforms of healing because of mom. )


(Reserach famous composers of the 19th cnetury. find one musicians from the day to visit Spencer Inn, rpaise Joohn’s music, catch John’s soul afire to write and play for a living.)


Lede with a dream of descending into hell and encountering Satan. Description of Abbott

 Wakes in a panic. Sees nursery fire, drone of mother praying rosary by firelight

Look round the romm, describe, drone of mr payrin roasy firelight. Gazed out the window and saw his star (decribe how looking for him, hwo looked, desdription).

same dream with variations. spometimes god, sometimes the devil, but nightly occurance (tyhen what).  for long time confused father with either the devil or god. for young John, really was the same thing. (Both were (descrbe authrztic and fear of punbhsmetn). For living within his father's domain had steeped within John an acute sensitivity to the supreme and eternal.

Omnipotence of God: his father

Through that, John learned the authority and power of the Son of God. (nanny, etc.)/

Majesty of God:

Attended church when father was in town. The cathedral was like home, cold, stone, and beautiful, but for John, only its music was alive and uplifted the soul. His father stood beside him, immobile save for singing those beautiful words, and John wondered if they cut deeply into him to stir something inside him, of if his father really had no clue.

Angels and ministering spirits his mother, the closest John ever came to the love of God.

Not sure if he even wishes to tell her because of her fragility that grows with each chapter as she becomes more elusive and reclusive. She totally supports him in his choices. She is the angel of his life, and an even more ethereal presence in the house. Her suite is a sanctuary of the after-life, full of flowers, herbs, fine furnishings, pastels, whites, splashes of color.

Lived life close to god, felt the glory of absolute power (harder attribtues of god in his father) and the more bentiful majestic parts of God. Descibr parties and daily life.Through nanny, all his mneed were met, like th caretaker of GodDescribe his day and how those attributes come to play. the impressions tha came ot his mind adn ho whe was unable to vrebalize them. staeyd dint ehnursery and ate his meals there at spencer’s inn ate at the table. what John’s daily routnie was lke. at home and Knew he ahd a str looknig otu fo rhim. Noticed that with tehasusarnc ecold make servant sbeck to his lap and acall (foudn out by acc when gave one an order one dayu).

Long before john reached his father’s stature he already know the secret of his father’s pwoer. not his height but his moeny. Knew now that the  that the secret of his omnipotence lay not in his height, but in his influence and wealth. But if dad rep the devil and the absolute power and authority of God then his mother personified grace, love and mercy. and why.

Mostly, however, John knew music.

Know he knew music. His mothe rsang bedtime hymns, especially Irish ones, an playe dthe piao at his father’s house for ntertainmetn. the chanting of latin at st patrick’s Catherdarl (work Irish element in there someheree-father’s mtoher was a calkins). DESDRIBE church and what masses ther w wer elike. Decribte ht eold pastor (use exisitn desdriptiona dn names, if possible from the website’s church history) church, likehome was orderly. everytign happened in graceful orderly processions it wa salway the asme predictbale, lvoely,

Rarely ill, but his father freqnely was with the doc being claled in for one thign or antoher. Lucetta was the angle of thenight moving slieltn aroudn and it seeme dher medicine did jas well s the docs. wodnered why not just skip altogether and cut staright to the quick. Caretaking God nanny: all came togther provide a glimpse of God in john’s life. Toeverythign apurose udner the sun...or star.


Asked mother abtu ti at bedtime whil ehse wa slistneing ot his paryers (list teh prayers they said kneeling by his bedside). How did he ntoice the star ? Oftene looked for it when?Mother take shim by  hadn to woindoe poitn sit out and tells the stoyr of his sister, now na agnel in heaven, is reathcin gov er him.

Yet if John was to cite any favorite early memory, it was summer holiday he had spent at Spencer Inn with his mother, when he discovered the secret of his own godliness.

Research hsi mmeory of driving rher and his fist imprssion of the inn. how arrived to a late, hurried dinner and being put to bed by his mother, a starnge and rare occurance indeed. slept without nightmares (commentaryP) and rose to (the sweetness of the coutnry describe). learned to ride horeses and to cook.

 Breakfast and the rst of ht eday. how no one seemed to be ther eto serve him only. how he spent the day. Visiting Granny Spencer. Describe in details her abode—including herbs, her appearance, what they did there, and John’s reaction to her.

Describe moonbathing,


• What is your motto?

Fair is foul, and foul is fair."
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1.1

(favorite muttering)


Something about helping in the garden, something about VINES, and a beware of a poisonous vine will be his destruction. Mutter, sppoky prediction, perhaps in verse. predicting his obsession with Bryony and how it would be his downfall.


But th sheer magic wa after dinner, after Bible. Recalle dthe story of (pick one that will fit the mood and gvive a differnet view of God than he alrady knew) when gathered  in the parlor to play. this was a different music than the carefully crafted compositions he heard at home.

How grandfather played. How mtoher palyed. whaty  they played togtheer. How john longed to touch those keys. Not impuslve; everythgi happedn in its timne, for  reason and for purpse WHAT IS THE INCITNG ICNCDENT THAT MAKES JOHN PLAY?

Grandrther’s reaction to his playing. From that poitn foreard, John given full and fre acces to the pinao, not just at night. Spent that entire summer compsonig and playing, etiher from ear, memory, or thte inner workkings of his mind. All the impressions that hard to verbalize came flowing through his fingertips and onto the keys.

Life had a differne torderlies abot it. more lfuid, mor espontanaous. gave john the room he neede do crate music. cold nto be at th epano all theitme, btu when not, wa sthnkign music. Even the ??? served at dinner ahd its own musicla qulaity (descirb) nature had a musicla qulaity, mother had musical auwolity, emtoions had musicla uwlity granndy did animals did, peooel at Spenci Inn did. Describe guests and what they sounded like. Played and composed heedless of fatigue, hugner, thirst until pants damp and more than once made a scarmbling dash for the outhouse.

Given an order by mother never to mentinit in hosue, that be their secret abtou this music. John agreed, never realizing at the time that making music was something inherent inside him. Rather, thoguth it was part of the atmosphere surroudnign the magical coutnrside that surrounded Spencer Inn.

For several summers, this is what John did dnad how he lived. During the cold NY winters, lived in an envirnemtn as cold and austere as the environmetn, house, adn his father was. In the summer, ran free iwn warmth and sunshine.

The followign sumerm, each summer made progress and haewt John wa splaying. Everetee, greatly neouctege ,bgout o ut sheet music and bougth others for John to play. The Inn became know for john’s music and atrtradte gusts to play.

john utned seven adn now tasted immortality for the fist tme, the true bodya dn blood of Chriats udne the species of bread and iwne. Neve rdoutbed what he ate and rank was relaly  his rator adn John love dhaving he divine suring throuhg his very body and touching all he touched. SEved at the later and thrille dto be close to wher tehemyseroius of life ocuurred and became fasincated with thepwoer that the pridsdt had to turn oridinary braed and wine into the god that create dthe univers and healed it into place by a single owrd.


Anothe summer passed as usual.

that summer John turned seven, a most notewory visitor came to Spencer Inn. (famous composer of the day). It was ???, who listened most intently to John’s musica dn said. theboy

that night, john pndered all the fmaous man had said. Rseovled dto do thwat mde pldege.


When returned, realized for the first time how short and less intimidating his father was. Arrvied to sern displae mother wanteing ot hsow off son’s gifts. John played eager to show his father and win his approvel but father was cold adn heartles sabotu John’s abilties. Queitly: very quaint, but lacking practicality for one destined to become a banker.

Crushed, despite the fact his father was short, but mother came to rescue and defended John. Double blow to the boy: lacked father’s approval and wasn’t strong enough to stand up to him. All at once, John resolved not live nder his father’s rule, but to one day establish his own ingdome. By disappoving his music, Abbott had unqwittingly set himsel fup against his son as a rival. John would not oppose him yet, but he woujld one day soon.

 In the meantime, woudl set abotu thebueisns of begining his own kidgome, his own legacy, and one that did not include, now and forver, the need for his father’s position and money.





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