My initial goal was simple—take the novel I wrote in 1981 and transfer it to the web as a serial. Catherine, a woman I worked with in Cambridge in 1976 told me, after reading an early draft, that I’d be writing it for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, she was correct.
Well, things did not go as planned. Basically, as I read the book, I discovered several things: I had an eye for detail and description. I was able to write some pretty terrible dialog. There was a lot in the book that was good but unrealized. That I had improved as a writer over the last 30 years, at least as far as non-fiction went. That my original organization was not working. And finally, simply transferring the book to the web, editing into 1,500 word chunks was not going to cut it. I needed to rewrite a great deal.
More importantly, were the pieces that I had not written but only assumed. As I wrote them from scratch, these were the parts that I liked the best. Collected loosely as the Tales of Matisse, they covered the story of Danny and Matisse’s college years, the years of their love and their separation. No sense in lying, the book was always loosely based on my own life (surprise, right?). But with the Tales of Matisse, I began to invent.
Plus, my understanding of what a serial blog was grew and changed. A serial, in the sense of Dickens, mini-series, etc. just didn’t work. If you came late to the party, the idea that you had to read all that came before in order to catch up deterred most people. I know it would deter me. Plus, the personal blogs on which this was based, did not require that. The authors talked about their lives, their friends, their adventures in something that was loosely serial but independent. Each post was self-contained, more or less and if you wanted to know about what went before, you just searched the archives.
Moving forward, expect changes. I’m going to revise the existing About and Table of Contents pages and offer an easy way for newcomers to get a quick history of the characters via links to the episodes that introduce them or tell their story. We’ll see how the “present” story evolves, especially since once you get past the intro stuff, there are some pretty good adventures ahead.